I once wrote a column in the New Zealand Herald about Stella Artois' advertising. In it I referred to Belgium's finest moments. There haven't been many: Tin Tin, Stella Artois, colonising the Congo...Well, now they have the honour of being the country whose legal system upheld the case against Google by the publishing consortium Copiepresse, who alleged that Google's linking to their websites breached their copyright.
In his excellent blog Allan Jenkins has this to say:
It's clear Boribon's (head of Copiepresse) problem with Google has nothing to do with copyright and everything to do with resentment of -- and fear of -- Google's success. But not just Google's success. This is fear -- and again, sadly, it is so deeply rooted in many parts of European academia and public administration that it will take a generational shift to root it out -- this is fear of technology, decentralization, business in general, globalization and free information.
According to Businessweek the judgement of the Belgian court might embolden other copyright owners to sue Google.
It is all somewhat Through the Looking Glass really. I, as do millions of other bloggers and web site owners, want to be listed on Google. It is a symbiotic relationship. More importantly it is a cornerstone concept of the Internet that sites are a web of links.
If it came to a choice between Google and Belgium I am afraid to say that I would pick Google. Who can grudge them their wealth and success? They have made my life easier. The Belgians, on the other hand,...we'll, I have nothing to say about them. They are irrelevant. Just ignore them.