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Belgian Courts tell Google - no cached pages allowed

   
8:40 am on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I missed this one over a week ago. A Belgian court has ordered Google to:

...withdraw the articles, photographs and graphic representations of Belgian publishers of the French - and German-speaking daily press, represented by the plaintiff, from all their sites (Google News and "cache" Google or any other name within 10 days of the notification of the intervening order, under penalty of a daily fine of
1,000,000.- € per day of delay;

[chillingeffects.org...]

The court also mandated that Google publish their entire judgment on the home pages of 'google.be' and of 'news.google.be or face a daily fine of 500,000,- € for each day they don't.

8:51 am on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member keyplyr is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



noarchive tags don't work in Belgium?

8:53 am on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Go Belgium, go. :D

It might be a good idea for Google and other search engines to have a new meta tag to explicitly allow caching instead of the opposite.

9:03 am on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



That's a huge decision. Hopefully it'll get appealed to the European Court so we can get a wider ruling.

a new meta tag to explicitly allow caching instead of the opposite.

That seems like such a logical thing to do that I don't understand why it's not being done.

I'm sure it can't be that hard.

TJ

9:11 am on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Good... Its about time this was done by someone, Google really shouldnt grab and keep a copy of everything without permission, hopefully this will pave the way for some new laws to stop this.
9:49 am on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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new meta tag to explicitly allow caching instead of the opposite

Could not agree more. Why we all let it happen the other way round baffles me.

9:57 am on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It might be a good idea for Google and other search engines to have a new meta tag to explicitly allow caching instead of the opposite.

this would stop google from showing non-commercial sites by hobby webmasters. and that is actually what made google cool and popular - variety of types of websites shown, from shops to personal opinions on geocities, etc.

if they did it, they would definitely commit a suicide.

on the other hand, this would be pretty good. now they just come in and take everything as if it was their property.
just look how they want to force us to use no-follow tag for paid advertising...

11:00 am on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



this would stop google from showing non-commercial sites by hobby webmasters

Why do you think that would happen?

It wouldn't affect indexing in the slightest. I think you're confusing the cache with the index.

TJ

11:20 am on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I tried to remove a page from Google's cache for very pertinent safety reasons - it has torque values on it that are safety-critical and I don't want Google serving up old versions of it.

So I added a nocache meta tag. Result? The page crashed from #1 for its highly specific keywords to about #300 or so. Counterproductive, because it was replaced by a page with errors on it. When I took the nocache out it was back within a week.

To be honest I thought this would happen a long time ago. Under British defamation law (see the Dr Godfrey vs. Demon Internet in the High Court, Queen's Bench Division, 1998-G-No 30) anyone caching is also republishing and is liable at law for the contents of the cache if they are deemed libellous.

I don't know why Google ever did it - there are lots of downsides and no upsides that I can see.

11:35 am on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Rooting about, it seems the applicable UK legislation is now this:

[opsi.gov.uk...]

I know posting a URL is normally against the guidelines, but it's obviously not for commercial promotion purposes.

11:49 am on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I don't know why Google ever did it - there are lots of downsides and no upsides that I can see.

When a website is down and I find its still in Googles index and i want to know what the website said - I check the cache. I would consider this an upside.

11:59 am on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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When a website is down

Very true. But how often are sites down? Not that much. Plus your argument is only valid if the cache is recent enough to be still valid.

All my sites are noarchive, have been for years and it has had no negative effect that I can see.

12:08 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator httpwebwitch is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



will google comply?
only in Belgium?

I like being able to see the cache, even though I find it morally offesive that they publish it. It's a conflict between publisher (hate it) and webmaster/seo (love it) - I'm both

12:34 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Nothing on google.be - yet.

Google must have seen it coming, as they already stopped using Dutch language news reports back in April, when the court process started. (Belgium has three official languages: French, German and Dutch).

The court appointed an expert who concluded that Google News "must be considered an information portal and not a search engine". In the court order it says that Google didn't show up.

1:07 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jtara is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



noarchive tags don't work in Belgium?

They apparently don't fly with Belgian law.

The fact is, the noarchive tag is exactly backwards to the requirements of most copyright laws.

Good! The law has been looking the other way on this for too long.

In every other case, one has to ASK PERMISSION before republishing copyrighted works. Permission can also be explicity given within the work "Permission is hearby granted..." etc.

Ultimately, perhaps this needs to be precisely codified in law. "Here's how you indicate copyright in a machine-readable way on a webpage. Here's how you indicate permission to cache, permission to copy for such and such a purpose, etc."

1:07 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member swa66 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



The ruling is about news.google.be. and .fr

The bottom line is that the newspapers want to sell their content, not have it available via Google.

The technicalities of this involved an official translation into English and I've not yet seen a document that clearly states the date it was handed over to Google (their 10 days will (IMHO, INAL) only start from that date.

Moreover with the defendant being Google, Inc from Mountain view, CA (the US parent company) I'm afraid they'll be able to ignore the judgement as they're out of reach of the Belgian courts.

[edited by: swa66 at 1:22 pm (utc) on Sep. 18, 2006]

1:10 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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In the court order it says that Google didn't show up.

Perhaps they're "pulling a Microsoft" i.e. defying court rulings in spite of daily fines.

Actually, it's worse than MS because for MS it was just about their own product, but this involves other people's copyrighted content :p

Oh for joy - I am a little happier now. Now, if only we could get a simlilar result in the US.

1:21 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jtara is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



The ruling is about news.google.be. Bottom line is that the newspapers want to sell their content, not have it available via Google.

Now, if only we could get a simlilar result in the US.

Probably won't happen. Unfortunately, news organizations are probably the only ones with enough money/power to take on Google. And in the U.S., Google made a deal with the wire services when they saw the handwriting on the wall. So it's unlikely to go to court via that route.

Google is looking more and more evil every day.

Google (outside of the U.S., and here before the deal) just takes whatever content they want and calls it "Google News". If you or I lift content from the N.Y. Times, you can bet they'd come down hard on us.

1:30 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member swa66 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Also note that the court has seen it fit to only protect the accuser's work (the French and German Speaking press), not all copyrighted material from being cached.
1:40 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)



Also note that the court has seen it fit to only protect the accuser's work

Yes - this is what I also noticed stood out in the judgment as I read it. I can't see exactly WHO the plaintiffs represent (Copiepresse), but my guess is that it is quite a specific group of sites. Just a case of manually deleting the relevent sites from the index to comply, except for the 5 days of eating humble pie message.

I think it will be very telling to see if Google WILL comply with the humble pie message? It's only Ego that prevents them from doing so, but I wonder just how big the egos have got?

1:51 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Very Very true, to just about every post in this thread!

I guess we can only wait - It would be nice if someone posted an update / news to this thread to see what happens.

2:01 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member quadrille is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



<meta name="cache" content="yes please">

Absence of tag would be read as
<meta name="cache" content="no thanks">

And I'll bet 99% of news publishers sign up. basically, they're fighting hoping that Google will pay a commission for the content. And eventually, the fees will get passed on to users - us.

The sooner Google calls their bluff - with the new tag - the sooner we keep the free internet safe. The longer it drags on, the more likely it is that they will club together - to club Google.

2:32 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Well if the big 3 wanted to pay hardball why not pull google.be msn.be and yahoo's equivelent for a week.

Just some Pujadist protectionist

2:41 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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explicitly allow caching ... That seems like such a logical thing to do that I don't understand why it's not being done.

Because 90% of Webmasters don't care. And if they don't care, they won't opt in. And if only 10% of the pages are cached, it's a pretty useless feature.

I believe it's the same reason why my phone company charges people to have an unlisted residential number, but doesn't charge them to be included in the phone book. By making the phone book bigger, they're making it more useful.

2:59 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)



This decision simply highlights the impracticality of using national copyright laws (or interpretation of national copyright laws) to control a global medium like the Internet. It's a bit like requiring that airliners stop serving alcohol when they fly over dry states or countries. In an era of globalization, legal questions involving copyright (including the caching of Web pages) need to be determined by a world court, not by national courts or regional bodies like the EU.
3:03 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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OK not sure because I can't seem to get the whole image of the court's ruling on the chillingeffects website (which just crashed my CPU when I tried it in Firefox and IE), but...

Belgians speak French and FLEMISH, not German, so there may be a problem with the translation. I know...nit-picky, but hey I was born there and gotta look out for the motherland. :P

3:09 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Because 90% of Webmasters don't care. And if they don't care, they won't opt in.

Do you have any evidence to back that up? I think a lot of webmasters care a great deal (perhaps too much) about every little thing that Google does, and that includes the cache. It's a webmasters right to determine how much of their content should be copied. To do otherwise than make the cache opt-in is penalising all the new webmasters who don't know what is going on.

3:22 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)



It's a webmasters right to determine how much of their content should be copied.

That isn't how copyright law works.

3:28 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bigdave is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



What is Google's legal presence in Belgium?

If they didn't show up to court? I wonder if they are willing to just leave the country. Either that or just pay any fines and remove those sites that sued from the index as too dangerous to deal with.

[edited by: BigDave at 3:31 pm (utc) on Sep. 18, 2006]

3:50 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I really would love to see someone sue google and then google remove them from the index.
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