Google loses Brussels copyright case

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A Brussels court rules that Google has violated copyright laws by publishing links to and excerpts from online Belgian newspapers. (Link to Bloomberg.com) The arguement appears to be one of revenue. The newspapers are concerned that they are losing ad revenue that’s going to Google instead. The concern appears to be that the aggregated view of the news which Google provides is of such a value that it gets “colossal traffic” which the newspapers miss out on.

What the newspapers aren’t mentioning is that is if it were not for Google’s aggregated news views (and similar services) it would be unlikely that I’d ever visit their newspaper in the first place. In fact, I imagine their traffic surges quite high when they are listed at the top of the Google’s news items. Of course, that’s not going to happen for them anymore. Why? Because the papers requested that all links to their papers be removed which Google has done (although there is some dispute whether the Google cache has been scrubbed too). It doesn’t take much of a business sense to realize that the other news sources that don’t force removal of their links are going to have a competitive advantage in collecting online traffic and thereby garner more ad revenue.

Danny Sullivan follows up on the story and has comments from Google itself, including quotes from Yoram Elkaim, legal couself for Google in Europe. Well worth reading.