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Google’s Belgian Battle: Mountain or Molehill?

Business Week takes a look at what’s at stake in the battle between Google and Belgian publishers.

It’s an interesting read, especially when the publishers concede they’re getting a lot of traffic from Google then go on to use that as evidence the company needs to be stopped.

Since the Belgian court decision went into effect and Google dropped IPM publications, traffic to the company’s sites has dropped about 15%, le Hodey concedes. Yet that only strengthens his sense that Google should be checked before it gets even more powerful.

BW also gives us an explanation of what the Europeans are trying to create with their Robots.txt alternative.

…a set of sophisticated software “tags” readable by search engines’ Web crawlers that would automatically tell aggregators under what terms they can use editorial content.

Google Explains the Ridiculousness of Belgian Ruling – Round 6

Google’s taken the opportunity to explain their side of the recent Belgian court ruling.

Here’s precisely why the court case is somewhat ridiculous…

…showing snippets of text and linking users to the websites where the information resides is what makes them so useful. And after all, it’s not just users that benefit from these links but publishers do too — because we drive huge amounts of web traffic to their sites.

Google Posts Belgian Ruling on Website – Round 5

Take a close look at the Google.be site, that will likely be the most text you ever see on a Google homepage, as Google complies with a court ruling to post the entire text of the judgement.

Google Loses Belgian Court Appeal – Round 4

It looks like Google has lost its appeal to overturn a Belgian court ruling requiring the company to publish, in full, the first court ruling. Follow that?

Google plans to continue its appeals.

Google Fights Belgian Ruling – Round 3

While Google has complied with part of a recent Belgian court ruling – removing news stories from Belgian publishers – it’s fighting the requirement to display the court ruling, in full, on its homepage.

“We can confirm that we have lodged an opposition [to the ruling],” said Caroline Coesemans, an attorney for Stibbe, a Brussels-based law firm representing the US Internet giant.

“We argued that posting the link on the home page in Belgium is unnecessary given how much publicity this court case and the judge’s decision have received,” Google spokeswoman Rachel Whetstone said.

It does seem a little petty of the judge to ask Google to post the ruling in its entirety. Surely a link to the ruling would suffice.

Google Ready to Battle Broadband Providers

If broadband providers such as AT&T and Verizon get their way and are able to charge more to carry unaffiliated content or guarantee connection speeds, look for Google to keep a close eye on them, so reports Reuters.

Google is just one of dozens of net companies hoping the government will take action to preserve what is being called “Net Neutrality”. Recent attempts to protect net neutrality were narrowly rejected and this has caused Google’s Vint Cerf to fire a warning-shot across the bow of broadband companies.

If the legislators … insist on neutrality, we will be happy. If they do not put it in, we will be less happy but then we will have to wait and see whether or not there actually is any abuse…If we are not successful in our arguments … then we will simply have to wait until something bad happens and then we will make known our case to the Department of Justice’s anti-trust division,” he said on Tuesday.

Net Neutrality Backed by Google, Amazon, eBay and Many Others

The issue of “Net Neutrality” comes to a boil over the next week as phone and cable companies push Congress to allow them to set up preferred internet networks, while big internet businesses, including Google, are fighting back.