Copiepresse May Regret Google Lawsuit

Google knows controversy; Google knows lawsuits. The search giant is enmeshed in investigations on both the European and American fronts, and there is enough to keep several teams of high-priced lawyers very happy and very securely employed. So that they lost one of these battles, to Belgian newspaper group, Copiepresse, is not shocking. That Google is emerging as the real victor in that case really isn’t either.

Copiepresse filed a lawsuit against Google in 2006, claiming that the world’s premiere search engine violated the newspaper group’s copyrights by showing its headlines and excerpts in Google News. With the benefit of five years of hindsight, we can recognise that this was, perhaps, not a terrific move. Why? Today, there are more features that allow searchers to engage with the material before clicking through; they want to see if a result is relevant before making the commitment, and headlines, excerpts, and snippets help them do this.

Recently, Copiepresse realised its websites were no longer listed in Google’s SERPs. That evil Google…always picking on the little guy. Not in this case. In this case, Google was acting in accordance to the terms of the lawsuit. While there might have been the smallest bit of pleasure for Google in this, they were following the law and doing what was required to avoid fines.

When Copiepresse complained that Google waswaivewr retaliating, Google issued this statement: “We never wanted to take [Copiepresse’s] 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.” Copiepresse then sent Google a waiver, giving them permission to re-index its sites.

According to digital marketing resource, EConsultancy, “publishers like Copiepresse may love to hate on Google publicly, but they need the search engine a lot more than it needs them.”

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