BONN, Germany (CN) – A Belgian news conglomerate is back in Google’s good graces after the search engine allegedly blackballed it from its indexes to retaliate for a court judgment.
After winning a bid in Belgium courts to prevent Google from listing its stories under Google News, Copiepresse claimed Friday that the search engine struck its article links from results pages altogether.
Copiepresse sued for copyright violation in 2006, arguing that Google needed permission or to provide compensation when listing links to news stories on Google News searches. A Belgian court ruled for Copiepresse in February 2007, with an appeals court upholding the ruling this past May.
The dispute seems to center over the scope of an order from the Belgian appeals court. Copiepresse asserts it applied only to Google News results, but Google interpreted it more broadly to include general searches from its main page.
Google said it removed the listings merely to avoid potential copyright-violation fines of $35,000 per infringement. After Copiepresse claimed retaliation, Google began to relist the results on general searches.
A Google spokesman reportedly said: “We are delighted that Copiepresse has given us assurances that we can re-include their sites in our Google search index without court-ordered penalties.”
The dispute follows accusations that Google is continually flexing market muscle as its operations grow in scope. After receiving complaints last year, the European Commission began investigating the search engine over charges that it is using market dominance to manipulate search results in its favor.
Google’s search algorithms are among the company’s best-kept secrets.
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