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Google loses appeal on posting Belgian ruling

Faces daily fine of almost $650,000 for not posting a decision forbidding it from reproducing article snippets.

Google has lost a bid to overturn a Belgian court order that requires it to publish an earlier ruling forbidding it from reproducing article snippets on its news amalgamation service.

The world's most popular Web search engine faces a daily fine of 500,000 euros ($640,900) for not posting the Sept. 5 decision on its Belgian Web site.

It said on Friday it still refuses to post the ruling.

"We are very disappointed that the court has decided to uphold its decision that the original judgment be posted to Google.be and news.google.be," a Google spokesman said.

Google had argued that the posting was unnecessary given the widespread publicity of the case.

It will fight the decision again as part of a broader attempt to overturn the entire case. The court is expected to consider the appeal in November.

"We believe that Google News is entirely lawful and brings real benefits to publishers by driving web traffic--and users--to their sites," the spokesman said.

Google News lists headlines and a few sentences of text from news articles around the world and links back to a publication's own Web site for users to read the whole item.

Any publisher can opt out by asking Google to remove its content, but publishers argue that by reproducing the material in the first place Google is violating copyright law.

Separately on Friday, four international publishing trade groups unveiled plans to launch an automated system for granting search engines and other companies permission for using their content.

The Belgian case was brought by Copiepresse, an organization that manages copyrights for French and German language newspapers.

The company is facing a similar copyright lawsuit from French news agency Agence France-Presse.

Story Copyright © 2006 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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