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Belgian newspapers target Yahoo after forcing Google to bend on linking

Posted on 08/06/2019 | in 杭州夜生活 | by

Long known for making the best beer in the world, Belgium has also become known for applying its copyright laws to news aggregators that summarize and link to the country’s newspapers. The latest tiff comes courtesy of Yahoo and Copiepresse, Belgium’s copyright enforcement group.HangZhou Night Net

Yahoo, like other news aggregators, publishes summaries and links to news articles all over the Internet. This isn’t a problem in most places, but Belgian publishers aren’t fans of the practice. Bernard Magrez, a lawyer for the Belgian copyright watchdog, has accused Yahoo of publishing articles without authorization. As a result, Copiepresse has sent a "cease and desist" letter to Yahoo, requesting that they stop linking to articles on the newspapers’ websites.

If you’re thinking that this sounds familiar, you’re correct. Google went through the same thing with Copiepresse last year. The Belgian newspapers argued that Google’s indexing of their sites constituted copyright infringement. A Belgian court agreed, ordering the search engine to remove the content from Google News and its search index while fining it €1.3 million for each day of noncompliance. Google is appealing the court’s ruling, and a decision may be issued some time this month.

Yahoo released a statement saying that it "respects the copyright of content owners" and will "respond in an appropriate manner" to Copiepresse’s complaints.

It’s difficult to see how the Belgian newspapers will benefit by having their links and content summaries stripped from all the major search engines.Easily-found external links drive traffic to web sites, which most site operators agree is a good thing. Forcing search engines to stop indexing and linking their content may give the newspapers more control over how their content is displayed and used, but that short-term benefit is outweighed by the prospect of lower site traffic and increasing irrelevance on the Internet.

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