13 February 2007 by Published in: Civil War books and authors 1 comment

My antipathy for Google’s book scanning copyright infringement scheme is well-documented here, and I won’t repeat my rants about why I am so vehemently opposed to that portion of the Google program that deals with works that are still subject to copyright protection. To reiterate one point: I have absolutely no problem or issue with that portion of the Google program that seeks to digitize public domain works, and wholeheartedly support that aspect of it. My gripe, stated here in one of my very first blog posts, has never changed.

In any event, a group of Belgian newspapers sued Google in Belgian courts, claiming that the posting of headlines and hyperlinks to their articles constituted copyright infringement under Belgian law. The Belgian court agreed, finding in favor of the newspapers. “Google is reproducing and publishing works protected by copyright,” the court said. “Google cannot call on any exceptions set out by law relating to copyright or similar rights.” Not surprisingly, Google has vowed to appeal, and its general counsel declared “”This ruling does not mean that everywhere else or every other judge in any other country would rule in the same, even in Belgium. There are conflicting rulings on those issues which are fairly new and complicated.” The Associated Press article on the court’s decision may be found here.

While Google may be correct in its assessment that there are conflicting rulings and that it does not mean that every judge in every court in every country would reach the same conclusion, the Belgian court’s decision represents the first time that a court of law has told Google that it’s dead wrong, and that there would be a monetary price for its arrogance. I’m no expert on Belgian copyright law, and wouldn’t begin to be able to comment upon whether the court was right of wrong, but I know U. S. copyright law pretty well, and I remain absolutely convinced that the book scanning program is an illegal infringement upon my copyright rights.

I am eagerly awaiting the outcome of the U. S. litigation….

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  1. Jim Epperson
    Wed 14th Feb 2007 at 12:51 pm

    The article did not go into sufficient detail to be certain, but if the issue here is simply a link to an extant web site, then I am on Google’s side in this one. I don’t see a copyright violation in having a link to someone else’s web site. In fact, all I see is that you are providing them with some extra exposure. Now, the issue of putting books still under copyright up on the web is entirely different.


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