TMCnet Feature
December 14, 2012

Google Settles Six-Year Dispute with Belgian Publishers

By Brittany Walters-Bearden, TMCnet Contributor

Google (News - Alert) has relationships steeped with animosity with publishers around the world, whether they’re in the news business or the books business, as both Google News and Google Books benefit from the work and expense of others. 

Today, Google announced that they have finally settled one of those ongoing battles.

The lawsuit in question was between Google and a group of Belgian newspapers and authors. In 2006, they took Google to court, alleging that their copyright had been infringed by the giant search engine. 

Now, six years later, it appears they have finally resolved their issues.

“We have reached an agreement that ends all litigation,” Google said of the matter. “From now on, Google and Belgian French-language publishers will partner on a broad range of business initiatives.”

These business initiatives represent the manner in which Google is hopeful that its remaining disputes will be resolved. One of the initiatives includes having readers pay for the news through online subscriptions. 

The publishers have also reserved the right to have their articles removed from Google News and any Google Web search.

Elsewhere in the European Union, Google may not be as lucky as it was in Belgium, where the costs fell squarely on the shoulders of the consumers, rather than on the giant corporation. In France, Italy and Germany, there are lobbying efforts to charge search engines for displaying articles.

According to The Wall Street Journal, though, Google did not get off so easy: the firm is responsible for paying for the legal fees and will uphold certain advertising in Belgian newspapers. While Google may not need any advertising, the deal is one that only seems fair for the publishers, as they bear the burden of work and expense for producing the news not to benefit their own advertising efforts, but those of the advertising monster Google has created for itself.

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Edited by Braden Becker
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