Belgian Group Seeking $77.2 Million in Damages from Google

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The Belgian copyright defense group known as Copiepresse recently filed a court document, asking for up to 49 million Euros, or $77.25 million, in damages from Google.  The issue at hand is Google’s reproduction of select extracts from Belgian newspapers.

This is not Google’s first tangle with Copiepresse.  Last year, a Belgian court ruled that Google was not permitted to reproduce extracts from Belgian newspapers on the Google News search engine.  In this case, Copiepresse argued that versions of these articles stored on Google could be seen there well after the articles were no longer freely accessible on a newspaper’s web site. 

Google appealed that ruling, but also agreed to try to negotiate a settlement out of court.  After Google changed their tagging system, however, they resumed the practice of referencing the Belgian web sites.

Notification of the filing was made available to the press via a copy of the official summons, which was dated May 23, 2008.   

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