The IPKat's friend Cristian Micelli (LASP) has sent him this link to the increasingly talked-about ruling against Google in a copyright case in Belgium, in which a court last Tuesday ordered the search company to stop showing excerpts of articles from French- and German-language Belgian newspapers on Google News and Google's websearch site for Belgium. This decision affirms an earlier ruling by the same court against the company, while halving the daily fine Google faces for non-compliance. Google, having failed to persuade the court that full-text caching plus excerpt-only reproduction could constitute fair use or that the burden lies with copyright owners to exercise an 'opt-out' option, intends to appeal. According to a spokesman for the company,
"We believe that Google.be and Google News are entirely legal and provide great value and critical information to internet users. However, we are very pleased that the judge agreed Google should be given notice of articles and other material that content owners want removed. As we have in the past, we will honour all requests to remove such materials. It is important to remember that both Google Web Search and Google News only ever show a few snippets of text. If people want to read the entire story they have to click through to the web publisher's site where the information resides. We believe search engines are of real benefit to publishers because they drive valuable traffic to their websites".Left: if the IPKat were making a cache in Belgium, it would be of something tastier than Belgian newspapers
IP litigation lawyer Chris Ruhland (Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe) is quoted as saying:
"They won a legal victory for now but maybe not in the long term. In 2007, if you are not findable in Google, you might as well not exist for practical purposes".That sort of comment, the IPKat feels, summarises the gulf that exists between US and European perceptions of copyright. If copyright owners wish to remain invisible, or to allow access to their works on a highly selective or limited basis, that is seen in Europe as their entitlement. Merpel agrees: the fact that Google confers a commercial (or any) advantage on the Belgian newspapers against their will may be commendable but it doesn't make it lawful.
Belgian newspapers here and here
Inexistence - what Roget's Thesaurus has to say here
Inexistence here, here and here
STOP PRESS: more details on the decision from Bloomberg here
Thanks too to Smita Kheria (Queens University Belfast) for sending the IPKat some links to this dispute!
The February 2007 issue of ten-times-a-year Trademark World, published by Informa, seems to have a larger number of shorter articles this time round - or perhaps this is a reflection on the IPKat's ever-growing attention span. Pick of the issue are these three items:
* "... And when no green bottles can accidentally fall", an appraisal by Philip Wolski from the charity PURE The Clean Planet Trust, on how IP lawyers can save the planet by working from home, recycling ink (!) switching off lights and putting on an extra woolly sweater instead of turning up the office heating by 5 degrees [note from Merpel - I've tried recycling ink, but without much success. I find it really hard to scrape it off the paper and get it back into my pen ...];
* A J Park's Bryan Thompson explains the workings of the New Zealand geographical indications (GIs) legislation, passed for wines and spirits last November;
* A piece on the darker side of GIs, asking how far they can intrude into the happy workings of the European trade mark system, by two lawyers from Grau, Baylos & Angulo (Barcelona), Jorge Grau and Maite Ferrandiz.