Belgium needs to grab a clue

Just when I thought the whole “Google News is stealing our content” furore had finally gone away, here comes Belgium. Having fought tooth and nail to not have their material indexed or displayed by Google’s news aggregator, the tiny country — whose major contribution to global culture appears to be Belgian waffles — has finally been successful in its efforts, and will no longer be forced to have Google redirecting traffic to its news sites for free. Another victory for idiocy.

“We are asking for Google to pay and seek our authorisation to use our content … Google sells advertising and makes money on our content,” said Copiepress president Margaret Boribon, conspicuously ignoring the fact that Google doesn’t sells advertising on the Google News site, and only uses snippets of articles as allowed under most “fair use” provisions of copyright law.

Well done, Belgium. Now you can join that small group of morons currently dominated by Agence France-Presse, which successfully had itself (and all of its member papers) removed from one of the world’s most popular news search engines.

Update:

Google appears to have taken the judge’s order literally, and removed Belgian newspapers not just from the Google News index, but from the entire Google index period. That’ll show ’em.

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About mathewi

I'm the chief digital writer at the Columbia Journalism Review in New York, and a former writer for Fortune magazine and the Globe and Mail newspaper.

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