They could have asked for 50 million ...

From the IPKat's friend ace reporter Stephanie Bodoni (Bloomberg) comes the exciting news that a group of Belgian newspapers is seeking as much as 49.1 million euros (US$77 million) from search-and-advertise corporation Google in a lawsuit over the right to feature links to the publishers' content on the internet.

Right: Copiepresse propose to replace search engines with teams of highly-trained readers ...

The group in question, Copiepresse, is not unknown to the IPKat's readers (see earlier items here and here): it is a confident, indeed aggressive body and it is now asking a Brussels court to award damages of between 32.8 and 49.1 million euros, following its successful claim in February last year that Google had infringed Belgian copyright laws by publishing links to articles on Google News without the newspapers' permission.

Google and Copiepress have been in discussions since that court ruling -- against which Google has lodged an appeal. However, the two sides have failed to sort their dispute out by consensual means. The damages sought in this action are in addition to the fine of 25,000 euros per day levied against Google until such time as it has removed all Belgian news content from its market-leading service (which Google is said to have done).

Left: this is how Digital Lifestyles views it
Copiepresse is also seeking to have Google publish the court's ruling last year, "in a visible and clear manner" on and for a period of 20 days (publication of court orders is one of the remedies available to the courts under the IP Enforcement Directive, Directive 2004/48). If Google doesn't publish the ruling, Copiepresse says that it will seek a further 1 million euro daily fine.

Paper chase here
Make a paper cat here
They could have asked for 50 million ... They could have asked for 50 million ... Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, May 28, 2008 Rating: 5


  1. wow, and i thought they were going to ask for a lot of money.

  2. Hi, i found your article because you linked it to my blog... well, i just don't understand why you used my photo (which has also a ©, by the way...) to illustrate your topic. is something wrong with this photo or the post in my blog ? thank you for your answer...

  3. What is interesting about this case is that, once more, ip rights are used to thwart a new technology. Supposedly, that's not what they were invented for. Moreover, I have little doubt that the Court of Appeal will confirm the ruling of the Tribunal of First Instance. It's going to be interesting to see what happens then.

  4. To Emilie: This Kat also fails to see the relevance of the use of your photo (other than the obvious cat-related aspect), and has removed the offending article according to your wishes.

  5. emilie, pour ma part je suis vraiment content que l'ipkat ait utiliser votre image. sinon je n'aurais sans doute jamais decouvert votre blog.

    pourtant, moi aussi je le trouve interessant que l'ipkat utilise les images des autres, apparement sans penser au droit de copier ...

  6. Very well put, Anonymous. However, you answer your own point, in saying that you wouldn't have found Emilie's site if the IPKat had not linked to it. The IPKat does knowingly use other people's images, but takes the view that the benefit, through linking to where the image came from, generally outweighs any detriment to the rights of the copyright owner. If the owner thinks otherwise, the IPKat will always take down the offending image.

  7. thank you David for your answer. actually when i talked about the copyright i only meant that i prefer when people ask me before to use one of my picture, but i generally always agree after :)
    my question was about the links between your article, my picture, the origami link and the movie link... but maybe i just missed something in the text :)

    merci pour votre message "anonymous". je suis tout à fait d'accord avec vous et ce qu'a dit David après... en fait je voulais juste comprendre pourquoi il avait choisi cette image, pas lui demander de l'enlever!

  8. Hi David

    Don't get me wrong: when I said "interesting", I meant "interesting" not "deplorable"! It is an interesting question (n'est-ce pas?) as to the extent to which, and the circumstances under which, one can justify to oneself from an ethical viewpoint the use of others' images made available on the internet. The fact is, to my mind, that ethically one allows oneself to do far more than copyright law allows (or than one might have felt at ease doing in relation to older media).

    And if the question is interesting in itself, it is far more so when it manifests itself on an IP Blog! My "apparement sans penser" related to the fact that I don't recall having seen the issue addressed by a member of the team (I apologise if I've missed it).

    I realise that this is not a message board, but I'd be interested also in reading the views of others on this point.


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