Belgian group seeks up to $77.2 mln from Google

BRUSSELS Wed May 28, 2008 2:29am EDT

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BRUSSELS May 28 (Reuters) - Belgian copyright defence group Copiepresse has filed a court document asking for up to 49 million euros ($77.25 million) in damages from search engine Google (GOOG.O), the group said late on Tuesday.

The dispute is over Google's reproduction of extracts from Belgian newspapers on its search engine. Copiepresse made available to journalists a copy of a summons dated May 23 requesting damages and interest from Google.

A Belgian court ruled last year that Google could not continue to reproduce extracts from Belgian newspapers on its news search engine, endangering one of Google's most popular services if other courts followed.

Copiepresse had argued that versions of news articles stored on Google could be seen on the U.S. firm's service even after the articles were no longer freely accessible on a newspaper's Web site.

Google had appealed the ruling but agreed at the same time to try to negotiate an agreement outside of court. Google had resumed referencing the Belgian Web sites after they changed their tagging system. (Reporting by Julien Ponthus; editing by Sue Thomas)

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