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Belgian press group faces setback in copyright infringement case against EC -

A copyright infringement suit filed by Belgian press trade group Copiepresse against NewsExplorer, a news aggregator run by the European Union (EU), has not been successful, it has been reported.

In early 2007, Copiepresse had accused Google News of copyright violations on account of the text excerpts and headlines used by the search service, and won that case. Though the extracts fall under fair use in the US, Google's actions were deemed to defy copyright violation statutes in Belgium. On the grounds of that victory, Copiepresse had reportedly filed a similar suit against NewsExplorer. However, despite the similarities in the cases, the new suit has been tossed.

NewExplorer provides links to its members' news articles in the European Commission's (EC) Media Monitor news collation and analysis system without obtaining their permission. This suit initially proceeded through a path quite similar to the Google News case, in which a technical expert determined that the search service did not provide commentary on the news it indexed. Google News was therefore seen to have run afoul of the local fair dealing exceptions for commentary and criticism.

But the EC got the new ruling thrown out on jurisdictional grounds. Apparently, the mere fact that the EC showed up in court to contest the decision made the venue chosen incorrect. Copiepresse now has the option of either filing the case in the correct Belgian court or moving up to the EC level.

The EC, based in Brussels, appears well-placed to tackle the complexities of Belgian copyright law. If the EC wins the suit filed by Copiepresse, Google may well seek an appeal in its own case, it is observed.


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