EU commission stealing content – at least some Belgian newspapers should say so

emmnewsexplorer.pngDid i get your attention? Now lets have a look at the details.

Act I: Copiepresse vs. the Search Engines

Last september a considerable amount of buzz was generated by the ruling of a belgian court that:

Pursuant to the law dd. 15m June 1935 on the use of languages in judicial matters;

Rejecting all other conclusions other than more extensive or contrary; Declare the claim admissible and founded as follows:

– Find that the defendant cannot exercise any exception provided in the law relating to copyright and ancillary rights (1991) and on the law on data bases (1998);

– Find that the activities of Google News and the use of the “Google cached violate in particular the laws on copyright and ancillary rights (1994) and the law on data bases (1998);

(complete text of the ruling).

Plaintiff in this case was Copiepresse (on behalf of its members a number of belgian newspapers). Later some other organizations (SOFAM, S.A.J, S.C.A.M, Pressbanking joined in. This ruling was more or less confirmed in February of this year. The full ruling (local copy) of 33 pages is definitely an interesting read since it gives an overview of the history at the start of the document.

Google appealed at the beginning of July with a hearing expected on July 17th, but it was expected that this date would be used to request an extension of its right to appeal, pending negotiations. I haven’t heard what actually happened on July 17th. Does anybody know?

More on the dispute can e.g. be found here, here , here and here

Earlier this year Copiepresse also accused Yahoo! of violating copyright and also warned Microsoft (see here).

Act II: ACAP to the rescue, EU commision: No support for free riders

The first ruling was instanteneously used by the different publishing organizations to promote their cause and especially to promote the ACAP project.

The press release anouncing the ACAP project was more or less ushered out of the door with a lead paragraph reading:

In the week that the publishers of Le Soir and La Libre Belgique won their case in the Belgian Courts against Google for illegally publishing content on its news service without prior consent, the World Association of Newspapers (W.A.N.), the European Publishers Council (E.P.C.) the International Publishers Association (I.P.A.) and the European Newspapers Association (E.N.P.A), are preparing to launch a global industry pilot project that aims to avoid any future clash between search engines and newspaper, periodical, magazine and book publishers. (full text)

I have written quite a bit about the ACAP project (see here, here and here) and full disclosure talked my employer dpa the german news agency into joining ACAP as a member to get a better understanding of the goals and the technology actually used. Unfortunately there is not a lot to see and learn right now as a visit to the ACAP midterm conference revealed to me. (Read some comments on the conference over here and here

As a project driven by lobbying organizations it is not surprising that these organizations and the ACAP project try to lobby, embrace and use the EU commision for their cause, resulting in sentences like this:

The EPC members welcomed Mr Barroso’s clear statement that he did not support free riders on the investment of publishers. As policies develop in the field of digital libraries, copyright more generally or eCommerce he recognised that we shall need to rely on strong copyright protection to fight piracy as well as to foster further investment and innovation in digital media research and development. (full text)

and appearances of a senior representative of the EU commision at the ACAP midterm conference.

Act III: EMM News Explorer – The EU commision is running a Google News clone itself

Eds. Note: DailyDeli Category banned from home page, Permalinks Enabled

For a couple of months i wanted to remove the DailyDeli Entries from the main index page. Although i and maybe also you deem them relevant for searching and “What I’m up to purposes” they just cluttered the index page. Doesn’t look nice if you have 10 DailyDeli posts followed by a “real” post.

So i finally settled on doing it. Fortunately there is already a plugin for that purpose called catvis. Unfortunately some people mention that it might cause problems with WP2.2+. And indeed it does. After unchecking the box for showing the DailyDeli on the front page everything seemed fine at first, there where problems while displaying the single post pages.

The error message clearly showed that there where unbalanced parantheses in the generated SQL-Code. Easy to fix i thought. Hence i changed:

elseif (is_single()) // add permalink check (eff beta 10, thanks to ruralmoon)
$ret .= " AND (($cat_visibility.archives=1 AND $lc";


elseif (is_single()) // add permalink check (eff beta 10, thanks to ruralmoon)
$ret .= "AND (($cat_visibility.archives='$checkval' AND $lc)";

If you still find any erros, please report them and i may have a closer look at the plugin code. But since i’m not a PHP guide (and don’t want to become one, i try to avoid this.
matching the code for some other cases. But then wordpress complained about the DB-table not being there.

WordPress database error: [Unknown table 'wp_catt_visibility' in where clause]
SELECT wp_posts.* FROM wp_posts WHERE 1=1 AND ID = 278 AND (post_type = 'post') AND ((wp_catt_visibility.archives='1' AND wp_catt_visibility.cv_user_level<='10') OR post_type='page' OR wp_catt_visibility.catt_ID IS NULL) ORDER BY post_date DESC


WordPress database error: [You have an error in your SQL syntax. Check the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near 'ORDER BY post_date ASC LIMIT 1' at line 1]
SELECT ID, post_title FROM wp_posts WHERE post_date > '' AND post_type = 'post' AND post_status = 'publish' AND ID != ORDER BY post_date ASC LIMIT 1

Whereas the DB-Table wp_catt_visibility is definitely defined in DB, the second error clearly exposes an error in the SQL-Code. Since i figured that i never would need the ability to hide a single post i just uncommented it ending up with:

elseif (is_single()) // add permalink check (eff beta 10, thanks to ruralmoon)
// GK: do nothing because of WP complaining about the statement below
$ret .= "";
//GK: fixed unbalanced parantheses
//$ret .= "AND (($cat_visibility.archives='$checkval' AND $lc)";

In related news, i also finally enabled permalinks (after checking that the old unrewritten links still work

If your still experience any problems with this site problems please report them to me.

links for 2007-08-24

  • PyFFmpeg is a wrapper around FFmpeg’s libavcodec and libavformat libraries whose main purpose it to provide access to individual frames of video files of various formats (including mpeg and divx encoded videos).
  • iMap 3 is a data visualisation tool designed to map large amounts of latitude/longitude data (or US ZIPcodes). iMap imports data from databases or spreadsheets and maps it onto image or vector maps.