Google, the world's most popular search engine, said on Thursday it had resumed providing links to Belgian newspaper Web sites after entering talks with Copiepresse, a group that defends press copyrights.
"Internet users interested in Belgian news and users of Google's search engine may have noticed today that the Web sites of the Belgian French and German-language daily newspapers ... are again referenced on the search engine," a joint statement issued by Google and Copiepresse said.
A Belgian court ruled in February that Google could not reproduce extracts from Belgian newspapers on its news search engine, imperiling one of Google's most popular services if other courts followed. Google has not yet appealed against the decision.
"We, the idiot, luddite editors of the Belgian press, realised that our site traffic was cut 80% without the free advertising from Google. As such, we have decided to allow for 'fair use' quotations in the Google search engine, so that we may once again benefit from all the free advertising."
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. The Belgian Web sites will tag their Internet pages in such a way that this will no longer be possible, both parties said.