Google to re-index blocked Belgian newspapers

Google today has begun re-indexing the websites of Belgian newspapers that accused the search giant of deleting their content just to get back at them for a copyright infringement case, PCMag reported.

After winning a suit against the search engine for posting links to their articles on Google News without permission, the newspapers, part of the group Copiepresse, was completely excluded from search results on Friday, The Associated Press reported. Copiepresse sued the search giant in 2006 for copyright infringement for linking to the articles without permission or payment on, but said Google was retaliating by removing the them from its main search index as well.

Google on Friday said it is just following the court’s orders. It could be fined €25,000 each time the newspapers’ websites appear, but it would re-include Copiepress newspapers “if they would indicate their desire to appear in Google Search and waive the potential penalties,” spokesman William Echikson said.

Since the ban began on Friday, traffic to the newspapers’ websites dropped, as Google’s market share in Belgium’s search market is more than 90 percent, according to ghacks.
 

“We are delighted that Copiepresse has given us assurances that we can re-include their sites in our Google search index without court-ordered penalties,” Google said in statement today. “We never wanted to take their sites out of our index, but we needed to respect a court order until Copiepresse acted. We remain open to working in collaboration with Copiepresse members in the future.”
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