Source Pravda.Ru

Google loses copyright case launched by Belgian newspapers

Google Inc. on Tuesday lost a copyright fight launched by Belgian newspapers who demanded the Web search service remove their stories last year, claiming it infringed copyright laws.

A Brussels court ruled in favor of Copiepresse, a copyright protection group representing 19 mostly French-language newspapers that complained the search engine's "cached" links offered free access to archived articles that the papers usually sell on a subscription basis.

It was unclear if Google would have to pay a daily fine.

The court ruled against the California-based company in September when it failed to appear at an earlier hearing.

That judgment forced Google to remove newspaper content from its news index, under threat of daily fines of EUR 1 million (US$1.28 million) until it complied with the ruling.

The court later agreed to hear the case again to allow Google put its side forward.

Google's lawyers accused the newspapers of protectionism, insisting that the company had not broken copyright law by showing headlines, a few lines of text and a link to the original story, reports AP.

But counsel for Copiepresse claimed that Google hurt the rights of authors because it effectively gave away content they usually charge for.

Most Belgian newspapers offer new articles to readers for free but charge for access to older stories.