Copiepresse Upset Ruling On Google Wasn’t Visible Enough


Google Belgium With Legal Ruling

Last week, Google
complied with
a Belgian court order and posted the ruling against it in a copyright suit on
the home page of Google Belgium and Google News Belgium, along with many other
places including many search results pages. Now via Google Blogoscoped,
news that
the plaintiff in the case Copiepresse thinks the ruling should have gone at the top of the
Google News Belgium page, rather than the bottom.

An article about the issue in Dutch is

here
. I don’t speak Dutch, sadly, consigning me to
AltaVista Babelfish, which
translated a key part as:

That happened also, but on the start page of Google news, the topicality part
of the site, stands the sentence entirely below. And that does not like
Copiepresse.

Anyone hitting Google Belgium couldn’t have failed to notice the beginning of
the very long ruling, as the illustration above shows. But over at Google News Belgium, that ruling wouldn’t have been seen unless
you scrolled to the bottom of the page, past all the stories. That’s what
Copiepresse seems to be upset about.

The

order
did require that:

The defendant to publish, in a visible and clear manner and without any
commentary from her part

Copiepresse might well be able to argue that on Google News Belgium, the
ruling there wasn’t clear and visible by being at the bottom of the page.

Of course, putting the long ruling at the top of the page would have been
unworkable. The ruling itself didn’t allow Google to put anything on the page
directing people to see the notice at the bottom since that might have been deemed "commentary"
about the ruling.

What next? If Copiepresse presses for more and wins, perhaps Google might
have to run the ruling in a column alongside news content.

Frankly, Copiepresse comes across as petty in complaining here. Google
already had a good argument that publishing the ruling was unnecessary given the
wide press coverage the ruling had gained, though the court was not convinced
and required the ruling to go up anyway. After that happened, coverage of
Google’s loss was only magnified. The point was made very publicly.

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