Google logoAlthough I've not really written about it before, watching the torrent of patent abuse and anti-Google lawsuits has had me entertained for a good few weeks.

In particular, a bunch of Belgian newspapers objected to Google's indexing of their content citing 'copyright violation' and demanded royalties, ignoring the fact that far from really benefiting Google the data in question existed simply to help drive traffic to the websites of those Belgian tomes.

Now, one might think that a website owner would be glad to have high ranks on Google so that internet users can pop along and easily get linked to their content. But no, inline with the media industries' concepts of dragging age-old publication/broadcast models into the Internet age (good luck with that) they are desperate to get paid for it.

Well fine, I imagine Google didn't shed many tears over being ordered to stop serving up links to the news sites from its Belgian version since it's those papers that really lose out on all that tasty, delightful traffic. However, another part of the eventual court order was that Google had to display the order itself on their frontpage, which not only seemed totally unneccesary but which ruins the search engine's famous clean and tidy look. Google appealed and lost that one.

Naturally, though, they made the text as small as possible, sticking it underneath the search box which is practically the only other item on the page. But no, the news sites aren't happy. They want the ruling displayed even more prominently, perhaps even at the top of the page which, frankly, would be ridiculous. Then more Belgian sites jump on the bandwagon and join in the fun because, let's face it, why not?

At this point I'm starting to wonder if Google should just abandon Belgium and let the frazzled remains of their internet community infrastructure implode out of retribution. Or because, let's face it, why not? It's sort of happened before, and it's royally pissed off everyone (read: AFP customers) who had the sense to leave Google be but became victims of the eventual devaluation of their services by court order.

All this commercial legal rubbish is tearing the useful Internet to shreds.