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Google News to appeal Belgian copyright decision

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Google will challenge a Belgian court ruling against Google News, worried the judgement might set a precedent which could impinge on its role as a content aggregator and the online advertising sold on the back of it.

As we reported yesterday, an action by Belgian newspapers demanded under national copyright law their content be removed unless Google sought their permission and agreed financial terms.

Google is adamant that its news service does not infringe national or international copyright law. It says it will happily remove a source at its publisher's request.

Google instigated this "you only had to ask" policy after French wire service AFP sued it in US courts last year.

Since learning about the two-week-old Belgian judgement on Friday, Google has removed the offending feeds from the nascent operation.

A Google statement on the case, which was brought by publisher Copiepress, said: "We believe that this case was entirely unnecessary. There is no need for legal action and all the associated costs."

Google lawyers will now appeal against the legal logic behind Copiepress' victory. They will argue Google News does not infringe copyright law as it uses only introductions to articles, in a similar way to how newspapers may quote from a book.

The company statement continued: "It is important to remember that we never show more than the headlines and a few snippets of text. If people want to read the entire story they have to click through to the newspapers' website."

Google has always pleaded its aggregator provides news media with more web traffic. The ad broker seems increasingly affronted at continuing ingratitude from continental types. ®

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