11:36 AM

2.14.07: Google loses Belgian copyright appeal

After losing a copyright infringement case in Belgian court last September, Google lost again on its appeal. The earlier ruling prevented Google from copying newspaper headlines from 18 Belgian newspapers and threatened a 1 million euro per day fine.

One good bit of news for Google, though. The daily fine is cut to 25,000 euros and publishers have to allow Google to remove any items they give firm notice about.

On the corporate blog, Google said:

We believe search engines are of real benefit to publishers because they drive valuable traffic to their websites. If publishers do not want their websites to appear in search results, technical standards like robots.txt and metatags enable them automatically to prevent the indexation of their content. These Internet standards are nearly universally accepted and are honored by all reputable search engines. In addition, Google has a clear policy of respecting the wishes of content owners. If a newspaper does not want to be part of Google News, we remove their content from our index—all the newspaper has to do is ask. There is no need for legal action and all the associated costs.