updated 11:50 pm EST, Thu December 13, 2012
All litigation dropped, Le Monde claims Google paying 5 million euros
Google took to its European blog today, and announced that it has reached a settlement with Belgian publishers that launched a suit against it six years ago. In the suit, the publishers argued that Google linked to cached copies and utilized portions of French-language content illegally. All litigation has been dropped under the new deal, but some ambiguity exists as to what exactly the European publishers have received as part of the deal.
According to the Google Policy Europe blog, Google isn't paying the Belgian publishers or authors to include the content in Google services. However, Google and Belgian French-language publishers will partner on a large range of initiatives to promote the publishers' and Google services, increase publishers' revenue, increase reader engagement, and increase the accessibility of the publishers' content.
Pay-service news outlet Paidcontent notes that French newspaper Le Monde "begins by explaining that the Belgian papers 'forced Google to bend' and that Google will 'compensate' papers and journalists to the tune of '[two to three] percent of sales' -- or 'around 5 million euros.'" Paidcontent believes that Google purchased millions of dollars of advertising as a backdoor settlement, making both parties' comments accurate, if not entirely complete.
Possibly hoping to stave off other copyright lawsuits in the European Union, Google states its belief that "instead of continuing to argue over legal interpretations, we have agreed on the need to set aside past grievances in favor of collaboration. This is the same message we would like to send to other publishers around the world -- its much more beneficial for us to work together than to fight."