Google has taken steps to settle the Belgium lawsuit
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Google has decided to settle with SOFAM and SCAM, two of the Belgian
newspapers groups having sued the company for using excerpts from their
articles in the Google News Belgium service.
SOFAM, a group representing the rights of photographers and SCAM, a group
representing journalists, had joined Copiepresse which had decided to take
legal action against Google in February, arguing that Google should have
signed agreements with the Belgium newspapers for using snippets of and
links to newspaper stories.
After the hearing in August 2006, a ruling obliged Goggle to remove the
links to the Belgium newspapers sites from its Google News service
threatening the company with a 1 million euro fine in case of
On 24 November 2006, during the re-hearing asked by Google, the company
reached a settlement with SOFAM and SCAM. Jessica Powell, a spokeswoman for
Google stated: “We reached an agreement with SOFAM and SCAM that will help
us make extensive use of their content,” but did not give any details on the
agreement nor did she say whether similar agreements would be signed with
She also added : “Google respects copyright law, which we believe lies at
the heart of the creative process. As today’s agreement demonstrates our
approach is to work in partnership with content creators and owners”.
Although Goggle lawyers argued that the company did not break any copyright
law as it it only showed a link, headlines and a few lines from the
articles, Copiepress said Google affected the authors of the articles
because it gave away archived articles that authors sell.
A ruling on the hearing is expected in early January.
Google partially settles Belgian copyright case (27.11.2006)
Google settles copyright dispute with 2 groups in Belgium (24.11.2006)
EDRI-gram: Belgium says no to Google news (27.09.2006)