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Google News Removes Belgian Newspaper 381

Posted by Hemos
from the lookit-all-them-words-not-there dept.
CaVi writes "Following a judicial action (link in French) by the 'French-speaking Belgian Association of the press,' Google.be has removed all the French-speaking press sites from its index, as can be seen by doing a search. The court order to Google is posted at Chilling Effects. In summary, the editors want a cut of the profit that Google News makes using their information. No such deal exists for the moment. Google has been ordered to remove all references, or pay one million Euros per day if it doesn't comply. Net effect: they removed all link to the sites, from Google News, but also from Google's search. Will Google become irrelevant in Belgian, and be replaced by MSN? Or will the newspapers, which gain from commercials, and thus net traffic, change their position when they'll see the drop in traffic that it is causing?" There's also a link to a Dutch news article on the subject; one of the key issues was evidently that some of what Google was carrying was no longer available on the newspaper's website itself, so rather then linking to the newspaper, Google was displaying it on their own.
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Google News Removes Belgian Newspaper

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  • No linking. Gotta love it. Undermind the damn net! Undermine I say!
    • by waynelorentz (662271) on Monday September 18, 2006 @11:19AM (#16130280) Homepage
      Can't say I'm surprised. They have some strange legal notions in Belgium that don't match up with the rest of the civilized world. I got C&D from a Belgian company through a law firm in New York. The Belgian company claims to own the copyright to my vacation photos (with me standing in them!). The law firm (acting on behalf of the Belgians) demanded I take them off my web site or they'd sue me into oblivion.

      I always warn people I know who are vacationing in Europe -- avoid Belgium. Who knows what else they will try to persecute you for there.
      • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Monday September 18, 2006 @11:32AM (#16130402) Homepage Journal
        I always warn people I know who are vacationing in Europe -- avoid Belgium. Who knows what else they will try to persecute you for there.

        Belgium is like Washington DC: too many bureaucrats for their own good.
      • by dehuit (57744) on Monday September 18, 2006 @11:54AM (#16130602)

        can't say I'm surprised. They have some strange legal notions in Belgium

        Yeah, one stupid company and the whole country should be avoided. Expert advice, Wayne!

        This is quite a sensible decision by the belgian court, I think. Several newspapers offer the news of today for free on their websites, and let you pay for searching the archives. Google caches those pages and offers them for free with their own ads added. Plain and simple copyright violation, no arguing around it. But quite convenient of course...

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by tommertron (640180)
          caches those pages and offers them for free with their own ads added

          First of all, Google News doesn't have ANY ads, mainly because of concerns over copyright that you mentioned. Secondly, Google Web Search only displays its ads in its search listings, NOT when you view the cached page. And most competent webmasters know that if they don't want their content cached by Google, they can just edit their robots.txt file to exclude themselves from being cached, or even indexed.

          I just can't understand why new

  • Ah, Belgium (Score:3, Funny)

    by C4st13v4n14 (1001121) on Monday September 18, 2006 @10:22AM (#16129822)
    Someone "out there" is taking the piss, right? I once visited Belgium for three weeks and it became apparent quite quickly that there wasn't anything news-worthy going on. All they seem to have is really, really excellent beer.
    • by muszek (882567)
      It's not about the whole world reading about what's new in Belgium: it's more about people from Belgium reading news about their own country or getting international news served by their own papers/news sites.

      100% of my income comes from (google) ads. ANY source of traffic is presious and those newspapers will feel the lack of that extra money. To me, all those stories about newspapers demanding money form G always sounded like extortion. Something like "if you won't give me half of your lunch, I will
    • I once visited Belgium for three weeks and it became apparent quite quickly that there wasn't anything news-worthy going on.
      You didn't happen to spot the European Union Parliament Buildings did you? ....oh wait.
    • by tarscher (1000260) on Monday September 18, 2006 @11:41AM (#16130479) Homepage
      We also have very good chocolate, waffles and child molesters.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by MCraigW (110179)
        Belgium certainly produces excellent chocolates. They also produce fine lace. On the list so far: Beer, chocolates, waffles, pedophiles, lace... oh, and lets not forget Brussels sprouts, although there, I think they just call them sprouts. And weren't fries invented there? Fries with mayonnaise.... mmmmmm...
  • by Hellad (691810) on Monday September 18, 2006 @10:22AM (#16129826)
    I am more concerned with the over inclusion of "news" sites. The news feature on Google has been flooeded with blogs and other "new" media sources. I enjoy reading blogs, but they are often so scewed to the blogger's opinion that they need some additional context. I realize that mainstream media is often accused of bias as well, but at least I know who those stations are. The news feature is useless to me if I need to get past 200 blogs to find one legitimate source.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Bryansix (761547)
      Maybe they could create a feature to sort by mainstream media and all other sources. However, I like having all available sources show up because you get to see news stories develop for months sometimes before the mainstream media reports anything on it.
  • Block IPs? (Score:5, Funny)

    by DzugZug (52149) on Monday September 18, 2006 @10:23AM (#16129833) Journal
    Google should block the Newspaper's IP addresses so that their reporters cannot use Google in their research.
    • MOD PARENT UP (Score:3, Insightful)

      by iendedi (687301)
      Excellent suggestion. Imagine? Reciprocity...
    • Re:Block IPs? (Score:5, Informative)

      by h00pla (532294) on Monday September 18, 2006 @10:30AM (#16129878) Homepage
      Nah. The newspaper's webmaster should just learn how to use the 'NOCACHE,NOARCHIVE' tag.

      • Re:Block IPs? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by OECD (639690) on Monday September 18, 2006 @10:39AM (#16129958) Journal

        The newspaper's webmaster should just learn how to use the 'NOCACHE,NOARCHIVE' tag.

        Bingo. If " one of the key issues was evidently that some of what Google was carrying was no longer available on the newspaper's website itself, so rather then linking to the newspaper, Google was displaying it on their own." is accuarate, they failed to avail themselves of the quick, easy, and cheap solution. Obviously, that's not what it really was about.

        I don't understand why news outlets get so upset when sites like google point people to their content. They should think of it as free advertising.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ergo98 (9391)

          I don't understand why news outlets get so upset when sites like google point people to their content. They should think of it as free advertising.

          And a lot of people see it as exactly that, and are thankful for the traffic Google sends their way. I get about 140 referrals from Google a day, and am very welcoming to the Google spiders.

          Nonetheless, this argument is very similar to the "Musicians should see Napster as an advertising medium to sell concert tickets" debate — some musicians do, while other

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Qzukk (229616)
          they failed to avail themselves of the quick, easy, and cheap solution.

          Why should they be forced to do anything? Google should use its awesome psychic powahs to automatically determine that when they put out information for the whole world to read, they don't actually want the whole world to read it. Or remember that it ever existed once it's gone.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cp.tar (871488)

      Now, that's not a bad idea at all... don't know why it's modded Funny; If I had mod points, it would get modded Insightful.

      Tit for tat... if we can't link to your articles, we won't give you links to help you write those articles.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Aladrin (926209)
        Because Google's motto is 'Don't be evil' and not 'Don't be evil unless someone pisses you off, then do whatever the fsck you want.'

        Google has done the very un-evilest thing they could in that situation. To attempt to further penalize those companies could (and probably would) be considered 'evil'.
    • by jcr (53032)
      Damn, that's a great idea. Either that, or they could just start charging the paper $10 per search.

      -jcr
  • by MosesJones (55544) on Monday September 18, 2006 @10:25AM (#16129849) Homepage

    As the old challenge goes, name 10 famous Belgians. Nice country and all but not exactly news central. In effect this is like Des Moines doing the same, and not even people in Des Moines would mind if they just had OTHER peoples news.

    Maybe its the start of something, all really dull places will sue to have their very dull news removed. After all, if something interesting happens there then one of the majors will cover it.

    $1m a day... nice sense of perspective.
    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday September 18, 2006 @10:33AM (#16129898)

      ice country and all but not exactly news central. In effect this is like Des Moines doing the same, and not even people in Des Moines would mind if they just had OTHER peoples news.

      Hmm, you have a very different perspective than I. I've always viewed Belgium as one of those countries with disproportionate influence. As the location for the NATO headquarters, they've always been sort of representative of Europe, and now with the headquarters of the EU there as well, it is semi-official. I've always viewed it as sort of a hub, where influential Europeans meet to make decisions. But, I've never been there, so maybe my perspective is skewed.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Hmm, you have a very different perspective than I. I've always viewed Belgium as one of those countries with disproportionate influence. As the location for the NATO headquarters, they've always been sort of representative of Europe, and now with the headquarters of the EU there as well, it is semi-official.

        The original headquarters of NATO was Paris, but it was moved to Brussels after DeGaulle began to withdraw French forces from the NATO command structure to spite the US and UK. This is only a guess, b
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Easy:

      Erasmus, Descartes, Brueghel, Van Dyck, Georges Lemaître, Henry Spaack, Karel V, Mercator, Jacques Brel, Sax, Django Reinhardt, Jansenss (farmaceutica), Damiaan ...

      I know, all from the past. I'm quite sure that 100 years from now lots of present Belgians will be known. Belgium is the European epicentre for science, politics and art.

      Hey, it's not my fault you don't know any history.
      • >Van Dyck
        His cockney accent was pretty poor in Mark Poppins though.
      • by thebdj (768618)
        Erasmus: Actually, wikipedia seems to indicate he is from the Netherlands. He is considered Dutch, which last I checked is generally considered Netherlands.
        Descartes: If you are talking about Rene Descartes, he was French.
        Van Dyck: Score, you 1, me 2.
        Lemaitre: You tied the score...good job.
        Spaak: I really should deduct points for you not knowing how to spell his name.
        Mercator: Can I deduct you two here? Nicholas was born in France and did work across Europe including Netherlands, again not Belgium.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by teslar (706653)
      As the old challenge goes, name 10 famous Belgians.

      Amélie Nothomb
      Hergé
      Jacky Ickx
      Charles the Great
      Adolphe Sax
      Lara Fabian
      Jacques Brel
      Raymond Devos
      Cécile de France
      Helmut Lotti

      That's on top of my head (and no, I am not Belgian)
      Just because you don't know any doesn't any doesn't mean they don't exist :) Why do people always call places they have no clue about 'dull'?
      • well, i'm belgian

        and i'm not exactly proud of Helmut Lotti

        but you left out Django Reinhardt ! ;-)
        and Toots Tielemans
        • by teslar (706653)
          Well, he isn't exactly famous for being a person to be proud of either - but he is famous :)
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        René Magritte
        Victor Horta
        Eddy Merckx
        Kim Clijsters
        Justine Hénin
        Jean-Claude Van Damme (if Lotti counts, he does too :)
      • by kamapuaa (555446) on Monday September 18, 2006 @10:59AM (#16130128) Homepage
        No, you're talking about the wrong kind of famous person. I think the grandparent post meant the kind of famous people that most people have heard of.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by FirienFirien (857374)
          I'm sure the Belgians will have heard of those people. And equally I'm sure you can name some people who will be famous in the US but draw a complete blank elsewhere - sure, it's disproportionate because of Hollywood and the fact that the US presidents tend to make as many waves as possible when abroad, but if you're going to be talking about the rest of the world you should probably remember that the US is not "most people".
      • I totally agree, best beer in the world, best food in the world (IMHO).

        And of couse Home of Jacky Ickx, that guy is one of my great heroes...
      • Hercule Poirot
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      As the old challenge goes, name 10 famous Belgians.

      Here goes (in random order):

      1) Dirk Frimout, 1st Belgian astronaut
      2) Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone
      3) Justine Henin-Hardenne, tennis player, current no. 2 in the WTA Tour
      4) Kim Clijsters, currently 4th ranked female tennis player in the world
      5) Tom Boonen, 2005 world cycling champion
      6) Paul Van Ostaijnen, influential Modernist poet
      7) Doctor Evil, evil doctor
      8) The Smurfs (all of them)
      9) Tintin, reporter (French-speaking, so all

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      well, i'm not the first to give you a list... but these just have to be mentioned

      - adolph sax
      - toots tielemans
      - django reinhardt
      - jean claude van damme (hmmm... i know i know... you said 'famous' not 'great')
      - anouck lepeire
      - kim clijsters
      - justine henin - ardenne
      - audrey hepburn
      - rene magritte (ceci n'est pas ...)
      - peter paul rubens
    • by jcr (53032)
      As the old challenge goes, name 10 famous Belgians.

      The only one that springs to mind isking leopold II, who was responsible for the biggest mass-murder in African history.

      -jcr
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by elmedico27 (931070)
      As the old challenge goes, name 10 famous Belgians.

      1. Waffles
      2. Waffles
      3. Waffles
      4. Waffles
      5. Waffles
      6. Waffles
      7. Waffles
      8. Waffles
      9. Waffles
      10. Waffles

  • Using the same logic as described here, I could probably sue Google for some GPL violations.

    Some web sites incorrectly send all their contents as text/plain or text/html, including binary files, images, etc. It looks like Google tries to automatically correct this, but is not always successful (this may depend on the amount of plain text contained in the binary file). Anyway, regardless of the reason why it happens, it seems to be possible to find a few binary files in the Google cache (not easy, but po

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BKX (5066)
      The GPL isn't quite so assholic as that. They don't necessarily have to give out the source themselves. They simply have to either make the source available at no extra charge or tell people where you can get it (though, this third party source must provide it for free and the source must be the same as you used for your binary). This is why it's quite common for people to put up patches and tell people to get the standard tarball and patch it (see udpcast for an example concerning busybox). When's the last
  • What does "As can be seen by doing a search" mean? When I click the link I see lots of results from the site - I assumed that there were no results to be expected. Don't tell me the newspapers caved in so early...
  • Guess what? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Syncerus (213609)
    Belguim is irrelevant anyway. Now that we can't find it through Google, it will quietly disappear in the back of the wardrobe, lost between Tanganyika and Cluj-Napoca.

    Syncerus

  • French? (Score:5, Funny)

    by evil agent (918566) on Monday September 18, 2006 @10:32AM (#16129892)
    Stupid Flanders...
  • Big loss? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HatchedEggs (1002127) on Monday September 18, 2006 @10:32AM (#16129895) Homepage Journal
    I think not for Google. It is funny.. that the newspapers don't keep their content, but are offended when somebody else picks up the ball for them.

    In reality, there is value to keeping articles around, and I really wish that newspapers would take the initiative and do a better job with that.

    Regardless, this is unfortunate. Perhaps the companies should just keep the articles around... and then they could make all this "money that google is making from the articles" for themselves.
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      Many newspapers do keep content around online. I guess the fact that these people don't, and then go on to sue what is probably the most popular websites that links to their own sites, speaks volumes about their grasp of economics. They must be stuck in the belief that if someone else benefits, you must somehow lose...
      • by honkycat (249849)
        Well, many (such as the New York Times) have recent content online openly, then move it to an archive that you must pay to access later. In that case, they would certainly be upset if google was mirroring their content later.
        • So should I pay them if I access that stack of newspapers in the garage and give a copy to a friend to read?
  • by the European court. Heck, it violates freedom of speech in essence. And, more importantly, linking/quoting has been proven to be not illegal in previous cases in the EU. Either they are all wrong, or the belgians are wrong. In my case, I come from the Netherlands, we know the answer ;=)

  • by tehwebguy (860335) on Monday September 18, 2006 @10:40AM (#16129967) Homepage
    at least i live in the states, where you can't just sue companies because you are too dense to learn the rules (such as robots.txt)

    oh wait..
  • by bfree (113420) on Monday September 18, 2006 @10:45AM (#16130011)
    The bottom line is that any creative work is copyrighted such that only the "author" can authorise copies. Google is depending on authors not enforcing their rights against them to prevent them from making numerous copies (and from providing a service to provide those copies to anyone with Google cache). If I was to setup a site which simply allowed visitors to search (and download) all the binaries online would Linus/FSF/Microsoft not be justified in challenging me for illegally distributing their copyrighted works?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Google also provides the means for any web author to have results displayed, but to keep their work from being cache-fetchable. [seoconsultants.com]

      If the Belgian newspapers had designed their site correctly by including the meta tags from the very beginning; there would have been no lawsuit. Since they didn't; Google is right to make them suffer by de-listing them entirely.

      Stupid design is always a capital crime.
  • by diegocgteleline.es (653730) on Monday September 18, 2006 @10:47AM (#16130031)
    I'm literally sick of all this people who don't like being indexed. If you don't want to show up in google, adjust robots.txt so that google won't search it. This is not a problem of "companies entering into your house because you left the door opened". Web sites are supposed to be there to be visited, if you don't like being indexed use robots.txt
    • I'm literally sick of all this people who don't like being indexed. If you don't want to show up in google, adjust robots.txt so that google won't search it. This is not a problem of "companies entering into your house because you left the door opened". Web sites are supposed to be there to be visited, if you don't like being indexed use robots.txt

      The point is that copyright owners still have a right to exert control over their copyrights; whether or not they use a robots.txt file. Searching and displaying
      • by malkavian (9512) on Monday September 18, 2006 @11:39AM (#16130455) Homepage
        Of course they have a right to exert control over it. But as a standard, most places would like their content indexed (how much work would it take to have an opt-in for every subdirectory on a site where content may belong to different authors?).
        If they don't, as has happened, they stated "We do not want Google to index our pages without paying us lots of money, as google make money off the indexing and finding", and Google promptly took them out of the News and Search.
        Now, they have exactly what they asked for. Google will make nothing from them.
        However, as always happens, they didn't actually stop to think what this would REALLY mean. They called Google's bluff, expecting to make a lot of money from the deal. Google didn't bluff and said "Ok then, you're on your own".
        Now, they're on their own, and will definitely lose the ongoing money obtained through the search engine hits Google provided to them (gratis, and subsidised only by their own index adverts on the way there. Everybody pays for PR after all).

        Now, if things change to the point that all sites need to have something to opt in, on a per directory basis (otherwise you end up with a clash), or even per file (for the same reasons), the whole concept of indexing the web becomes impossible, or at least vastly more difficult. For example, you'd need to stamp a file that you wanted indexed using extensions to existing HTML, or in meta fields. And as a goodly many people who put pages up want them indexed, and use tools, then the tools will soon start having defaults of the 'index me' stamp. And then we're back to square one with more traffic being used uselessly.
        So, you can either choose the opt out (and get free advertising into the bargain), and opt out where you wish, or choose a way that breaks the whole model for everyone.
  • by reynaert (264437) on Monday September 18, 2006 @10:47AM (#16130038)
    If I understand this correctly, the principal problem is not Google News but rather Google Cache. It seems that when news articles move from public to subscriber-only, Google retrieved the contents from its cache, instead of removing the article. So the issue was that Google was distributing articles instead of only linking them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MikeBabcock (65886)
      This is in no way Google's fault. Google caches sites, the Internet archive [archive.org] caches sites, its up to you as a webmaster to put limits on it with the well-publicized "robots.txt" restrictions available to you.
  • ...greed is the great destroyer.
  • GASP!!! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Plutonite (999141)
    You mean I can't read earth-shattering news exclusively put on french-speaking, .be domains anymore? Whatever will we do now? Dear Jesus.. how will I survive when such a huge part of the internets has been torn away? How many tubes are left, oh harsh harsh world?

    In all seriousness, I didn't know the french-speaking press of the Belgian world was so damn stupid. Most of their traffic probably comes from people accidentally clicking on links from google. Why would they do this? Money?

    That's like kidnapping D
  • thats it! no more belgian chocolate for me! no more money for these belgian burgersmeisters
  • First of all : it is pretty complex to explain our Belgian laws to you.. but I'll try! If you read the complete text there are several important points : - first of all Google wasn't in the courtroom to defend themselves, this leaves a whole procedure open for them to react. (but do they care?) - your robot.txt makes no sense here, that's an opt-out. In Belgium everything has to be opt-in. - all newspapers are strong entities in Belgium, nobody searches them in Google, everyone just types the newspaper name, followed by .be - the main argument was brought to the judge by a court expert. They did some tests by removing articles on some newspaper websites (for example : wrong info, re-edited articles) but Google News would still show them. This is a major issue here. You have to know we have a special database law (1992) in Belgium. This law prohibits the commercial use, non-commercial transaction of databases between entities and.. the creation of a database (whatever data) without the explicit knowledge of those who are "databased".. For the judge it was clear that Google made a "database" of the articles - so case closed. (although i think "google cache" is not the same as "a database") As a Belgian I'm proud we have the strongest privacy laws in the world (really, study them..), but the database law is now used in a copyright infringement suit. (where in the past, it was mainly used to protect individuals) Besides of all these things : we still are slammed with arguments like "google making money with the news". But everyone can see there are no ads on news.google.be For your info : the flemish part of the belgian newspapers just asked Google not to be indexed, and Google had no problem with that. In my opinion and after reading the verdict several times, Google would win the case with just a 0 sec. cache
  • by vidarh (309115) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Monday September 18, 2006 @11:41AM (#16130472) Homepage Journal
    Everone knows that Belgium doesn't exist [zapatopi.net]...

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