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Microsoft dodges court in Belgian copyright battle

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Microsoft has agreed to remove links to articles in Belgian newspapers from its search engines and news aggregators, rather than fight it out in court with Belgian publishers.

Copiepresse, the industry body for French and German language newspaper publishers in Belgium, had sent the software giant a cease and desist letter, instructing it to remove snippets of articles from its search pages.

In a similar case against Google, a judge agreed with CopiePresse's argument that posting such snippets does violate copyright, even if it also drives traffic to the sites. The ruling was recently upheld by an appeals court.

Microsoft issued a statement on Friday last week in Belgium, saying that it has "provisionally" agreed to comply with Copiepresse's request to remove the links. It said in a statement that it would remove all links to cached and non cached articles from both its Live Search engine and its Newsbot news aggregator.

"Microsoft, however, underlines that these measures do not imply any acknowledgement or recognition of Copiepresse's rights and that it reserves all rights," the company said. ®

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