Belgian newspapers sue Google for copyright infringement

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Tired of waiting for settlement negotiations after winning a copyright case against Google in 2006 over its Google News service, a group of Belgian publishers has decided it’s time to ask the court to step in and is seeking between $51.5 million and $77 million in damages.

In the legal summon, the group alleged that Google had violated Belgian copyright law by reproducing and publishing part of the newspapers’ stories and by storing the full versions of archived stories in its cached pages. The damages they now seek are in addition to a daily fine of $39,000 the court last year ordered Google to pay until it removes all Belgian news content.

What they don’t seem to understand, though, is that when Google News publishes part of their stories linking to the original article, it usually means tons of traffic which translates to advertising revenue. In any case, the search giant is now being asked to appear in court on September 18 at a hearing to decide whether the newspapers’ copyright was infringed and to rule on the claim for damages.

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