A Belgian court said on Friday it would wait until after the new year to decide whether to cancel an injunction forbidding Web search leader Google Inc. from reproducing extracts from Belgian press reports.
Google, which faces a parallel case in a U.S. court filed by Agence France-Presse, argued on Friday that the injunction, granted by Brussels's Tribunal des Referes, should be cancelled.
"It will be after the Christmas holidays," the judge told lawyers after a three-hour hearing during which Google lawyers argued that the Belgian Google News service did not infringe on copyright laws.
Lawyers for Copiepresse, an organization which manages copyrights for French and German language newspapers and which brought the case, said that Google had no right to make any copy of content without prior consent.
Copiepresse general secretary Margaret Boribon, who was present at the hearing, said her organization was open to talks.
Google also offered an olive branch. "Google is always open to better its relations with authors. We are trying to resume dialogue," Yoram Elkaim, the legal head of Google France, told Reuters after the hearing.
Elkaim said he believed the case was did not threaten the viability of the Google News business overall.
"This case in Belgium has triggered a debate in Europe but does not question this activity. It is more a question of method," he added.
"If people want us to remove them from our service we do it," he added.
Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.
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