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Belgian Court: Google Violated Copyright and Data Laws


A Google map of Belgium

A Belgian court Tuesday said Google violated Belgian copyright law when it posted news snippets and links to Belgian newspapers online without permission, writes UPI.

The court ordered Google to remove the Belgian newspaper content, photos and links from the Google News site and pay a retroactive fine of $32,390 for each day they were not removed - a fine that the U.K.'s Telegraph newspaper estimated could reach $4.7 million.

Google said it would appeal and asserted that its Google News Service was "entirely legal" and actually provided a service by driving traffic to the newspapers' sites andĀ helping to boost their ad revenue.

But the papers accused Google of using the news content, launched in Belgium in January 2006, to generate "colossal traffic" and advertising profits for itself.

The court also ruled that Google violated Belgian data-storage law by archiving stories the papers usually charge for. Most Belgian newspapers let readers read current news stories for free but charge for older stories.

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