Well, many of us have heard of the term “Google Slap.” That is when Google is the slapper. But now Google is the one that has been slapped.

Google, the Californian company that runs the world’s most popular search engine, lost a court case in Brussels Belgium on 13 February 2007 where it was found that Google had breached copyright.

Copiepresse, a copyright protection specialist, was representing a group of 18 mostly French language newspapers who complained that Google was using “cached” links to offer free access to archived articles from the papers that were sold on a subscription basis.

The court ordered Google to remove the offending links, snippets of articles and all photographs from its sites. This included “Google News” which displayed the information WITHOUT the permission of the newspapers.

The Court said that if copyright owners contacted Google with a complaint then Google would have 24 hours to remove the offending content or face a fine of 25,000 Euros per day.

Apparently Google is appealing the ruling as it believes it has done nothing wrong. Well, I fail to see how Google thinks that it can display the intellectual property of another party and then when informed by that party that Google is breaching copyright how it can possibly defend that position.

Copyright theft is copyright theft.

This attitude may be the reason why so many other website and ezine publishers believe that they can steal intellectual copyright then display it for all and sundry as if it belonged to them and not the originators of the material. In many instances even the name of the copyright owners and any links to them have been removed. Clearly this is copyright theft.

Internet copyright theft has now been tested in Court and a precedent has been set.

For further information The West Australian newspaper edition of 14 February, 2007 can be referenced. Page 33 carries the full story entitled: “Google to Appeal Over Court Copyright Defeat.”

Let this be a warning to all rogue website and ezine owners. Using stolen copyright will see you end up in Court and fined.

Copyright theft is a serious crime. Google has been slapped for it and it is a multi-million dollar corporation. Copyright thieves should think twice before they steal intellectual property.