Google relents, publishes Belgian court ruling

The decision is a reversal from its previous refusal to comply with the court's order.

Tech Industry
Google on Saturday published on its Belgian Web site a court order that forbids the Internet search engine to reproduce snippets of Belgian press on its news amalgamation service.

The move constituted a u-turn as Google had said on Friday that it would not comply with the court order, despite facing a fine equivalent to $640,900 daily if it did not publish the ruling.

A spokesperson for Google declined to elaborate on the reasons that made the company change its mind but said it would seek to cancel the ruling.

"We are pleased that a judge has given Google the opportunity to appeal the substance of this case. This will be heard in November," the spokesperson 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.

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

Story Copyright © 2006 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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