MSN Belgium Drops Some Newspapers, Negotiating On Inclusion After Cease & Desist

Earlier, we touched on the fact that Copiepresse was threatening to go after MSN for carrying Belgian newspapers in the way it went after Google. Via PaidContent.org, Update: MSN is latest target of Belgian copyright complaint from InfoWorld covers how Copiepresse is now negotiating with MSN Belgium after sending a cease-and-desist letter to MSN. Copiepresse hopes to gain a share of advertising revenue.

Meanwhile, MSN Belgium has removed some newspapers. Removed from where isn't clear. MSN Belgium does have a dedicated news area, so it might be from there. However, sites may also have been removed from web search results similar to what Google did. I tried a search for site:lesoir.be, and the main news site seems to have been removed.

InfoWorld also notes:

The group, which represents some of Belgium's best known newspapers, including Le Soir and Le Libre, has been gathering more support for its cause. It was joined this week by separate groups that represent Belgian photographers, journalists, scientific authors and multimedia publishers, who plan to back its efforts.

It will be interesting to see how many more groups they rally in support against the search engines, and how the search engines react. I think there's a big difference between search engines deciding they might pay to include relatively small amounts of content in specialized news search engines versus a frankly insane idea that they're going to negotiate deals for inclusion in regular web search results.

Ultimately, the good people of Belgium might mind themselves without the ability to search the web, should Copiepresse succeed in its quest that getting permission via robots.txt should be illegal.

I've have much more to say on this subject -- I'm working on a piece I hope to post later this week. For some related material from me, see: