Belgian Copyright Case Expands in Scope; MSN Also Contacted by Copiepresse

There’s a great thread at Groklaw which delves deeply into the legal landmine surrounding news search in Belgium – Interview with Margaret Boribon of Copiepresse About

The opening post includes an interview with Margaret Boribon of Copiepresse, the organization that recently obtained a default judgment against Google, which forced the search giant to include a copy of the judgment on the front page of their Belgian News Search and organic search.

The thread was started yesterday, and an update this morning points to articles announcing some interesting new twists. One is that Copiepresse has made some demands of MSN (link no longer available) and their news coverage. It also notes that they may expand their scope beyond search engines in the future to other sites that may be taking their content without permission.

That article notes that the lawyer from Copiepresse indicates that MSN Belgium has been more open to cooperation than Google.

I was drawn into this Groklaw thread by a link from the original article to my previous post on this topic, Belgian Copyright Ruling Against Google News, and would like to welcome visitors from Groklaw to SEO by the Sea. There are 500 comments presently, on the Groklaw post, including some from me. They welcome more, if you have something to say on this topic.

Danny Sullivan also talked with Margaret Boribon about the case in September in Google’s Belgium Fight: Show Me The Money, Not The Opt-Out, Say Publishers. The Groklaw interview raises some interesting new concerns, such as:

  • Copiepresse being upset that their articles are still showing up in
  • Copiepresse believes that the outcome of this ruling will have an impact on how Google does business throughout Europe,
  • Google’s ability to determine what gets indexed could be a powerful tool for censorship, and;
  • The role of the World Association of Newspapers and their Automated Content Access Protocol for media sites.

I have some concerns about the Google cache myself, when it comes to copyright laws. But I’m having troubles understanding how displaying titles and small snippets from articles, along with links to the Belgian news sites is harming those sites.


Author: Bill Slawski

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