BRUSSELS Dec 13 Google agreed on
Thursday to help boost online revenues for a group of Belgian
newspaper publishers and authors, settling a six-year dispute
over copyright which it hopes will be a model for resolving
similar clashes around the world.
Publishers have been trying to get Google to pay them for
showing their online content in Web searches as more and more
readers of the printed word defect to online media.
Under the Belgian deal Google said it will now collaborate
with the Rossel Group, which owns leading dailies Le Soir and
L'Echo, the IPM Group, which publishes La Libre Belgique,
L'Avenir and with the authors to help them generate revenues
from their online content.
"We have reached an agreement that ends all litigation. From
now on Google and Belgian French-language publishers will
partner on a broad range of business initiatives," Google said
in a statement.
These include working with the publishers to ensure that
readers pay for the news via paywalls and subscriptions and
distributing content on smartphones and tablets. Google itself
will not pay for the content on its services.
The publishers will decide which articles they want to
charge. They will also be able to pull out of Google's web
search and Google News whenever they want.
The case started in 2006 when the media firms took Google to
a Belgian court, saying the search engine had infringed their
Google is also embroiled in similar disputes in other EU
countries. Germany has proposed legislation to let publishers
charge search engines for displaying newspaper articles. France
and Italy are also lobbying for similar measures.
Google says its services drive traffic to publishers while
its AdSense programme, which allows companies to place banner
advertisements on a website, pays $7 billion yearly to web