Google agrees to content deal in Belgian dispute

Internet search giant Google has struck a content-sharing deal with two organizations to partly settle a dispute in Belgium over news articles available through the Internet search engine, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said Google however still faces a bid by Belgian newspapers, spearheaded by copyright protection society Copiepresse, to get the company to pull the news content unless it paid the newspapers or received their permission.

A judge for the Brussels-based Court of First Instance said she would deliver her verdict in early January, the Associated Press report said.

France-based multimedia authors' rights group SCAM and Sofam, which represents Belgian photographers and visual artists, withdrew their support for Copiepresse's case before the Belgian judge heard arguments from both sides last week, the report said.

Google spokeswoman Jessica Powell was quoted as saying that the company was 'pleased to see they would not pursue litigation,' but insisted the deal was not new and was part of an ongoing dialogue with publishers and authors' rights groups.

'We won't go into the details,' she said, refusing to say when the agreement was signed and what exactly it covered apart from allowing the search engine 'extensive use of content' and 'innovative new ways beyond what copyright allows without the permission of authors.'