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Google under fire after newspapers removed from search engine

GOOGLE has been criticised for its decision to remove a number of Belgian newspapers from its search engine in a row over copyright.

The European Newspaper Publishers' Association (ENPA), a non-profit organisation that claims to represent 5,200 titles in 26 European countries, said it had "concerns" about the size of Google and the influence it had in the media industry after it removed a group of newspapers called Copiepresse from its Google search function.

The row stems from a 2007 court case when the Copiepresse papers sued Google for allowing access to them through Google News.


Google ultimately lost an appeal in May this year after it was found guilty of copyright breach by reproducing a "significant" part of the "copyrighted material" on Google News.

In order to comply with the ruling, Google removed the Copiepresse newspapers from its search website.

Copiepresse, however, said it was quite happy for its papers to be used in the search engine, just not Google News.

Google has now put the newspapers back into its search engine.

ENPA vice-president Valdo Lehari Junior said: "The decision of Google to treat the content of Belgian francophone newspaper publishers in this unpredictable way demonstrates the potential danger of one company becoming a virtual gatekeeper of the internet."

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