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Google ordered to remove news items or pay huge fine+

AP | September 18 2006

(Kyodo) _ A Brussels court has ordered internet giant Google to pay 1 million euro a day if it does not remove all news articles and pictures from French and German language newspapers on its news site, Belgian media reported on Monday.

"The judgment, dating back to September 5, made public only yesterday (Sunday), says that Google provides texts after the publishers have taken them off their own websites," Flemish newspaper De Morgen reported.

The court considered this a breach of authors' rights, as well as Belgian law on databanks, the daily said.

If the ruling is not published on Google's Belgian website, the company will have to pay another half a million euro per day.

The suit against Google was filed by Belgian publishing group Copiepresse which represents various French and German language newspapers in the country.

In De Morgen, director of the Flemish Daily Press Alex Fordyn complained that often the fact that journalists and publishers have to be paid for their research is forgotten by those who advocate news should be free for everyone.

At the start of the conflict at the beginning of 2006, the Flemish Newspaper Association Reprocopy left news.google.be because it disagreed with the way the company operated.

Google had been informed of the decision of the Belgian court by Sept. 8 and can still appeal the ruling.

 

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