Belgian Court Says Google News Violates Copyright Law

Journalists and newspaper publishers finally won the battle against the internet search giant, Google, as the Belgian Court of Appeal confirmed that Google News violated the copyright of Belgian newspapers by posting extracts of news on the Google News web site without their permission.

"This is a major victory for journalists," said the Collecting Society for Journalists in Belgium (SAJ). "This case could have broad implications for indexing news by search engines".

Under the ruling, Google can no longer offer links to articles or post extracts of articles or photographs from French-and-German-language newspapers in Belgium. Google has to remove copyrighted content belonging to the plaintiff publications from Google News or else it faces a penalty payment of 25000€ per day for the delay.

The lawsuit was brought by Copiepresse, the Société des Journalistes (SAJ) and Assucoipe in January 2006. In 2007, Google made an appeal against a ruling in favour of Copiepresse by the Belgian court.

Read decision in French here

Communiqué from Assucopie and SAJ on French in French and English