Google paid the Belgian publishers € 5 million to settle

“The press can get Google on its knees, and the Belgian publishers proved that today,” reports Le Monde today. Google Belgium said yesterday that they had reached a settlement with the Belgian francophone publishers, but that it was important to note that Google “wasn’t paying for indexing the content”.

That may be true, but that doesn’t mean that Google didn’t have to cough up some serious cash to make this suit go away: Le Monde estimates that Google pays the publishers about € 5 million, or ”between 2 and 3 percent” of the publisher’s annual revenue. Part of that money will be paid out to the journalists through the SAJ, the society of author’s rights of the journalists.

The proceedings between Google and the Belgian publishers lasted for 6 years. Copiepresse (the federation of francophone publishers) filed suit in 2006 for the first time for copyright infringement with Google News. Google had to stop indexing snippets of articles at the time (and responded by simply not indexing the publishers for a while).

In 2007, Google proposed a settlement that was “ridiculous”, according to the publishers. In 2011, the original verdict against Google was upheld by a Court of Appeal, which probably explains Google’s willingness to pay this sizable amount.

via En conflit avec la presse belge, Google accepte de l’indemniser.

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Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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