Mutiple sources, like businessweek, are reporting that Google lost a court case in Belgium. They have been ordered to remove headlines and links on their news aggregator that were posted without the permission of the online newspapers. So far, Google has been able to avoid such lawsuits via "fair use" laws, which apparently do not exist in Belgium. The crux of the issue is something I've wondered about myself for a long time. I can see how Google can avoid legal action when they summarize a few lines of text from a site and then provide a link to the site. What I don't understand, is how they can legally cache that information. After they cache a version of the page, isn't Google in affect "hosting" the content? This is exactly what got Google in trouble in Belgium, the newspapers claimed that they were loosing revenue due to Google caching pages. While the original articles were available on the newspaper sites, for a limited time, only paid subscribers could get access to the archives, which most people came to realize were also available via Google's cached pages.
This whole issue does raise some interesting questions. What if I, being the owner of some data, no longer want the content on the internet? Have I given up my rights already by making it public in the first place? If I explicitly place a copyright on said data before it is released, does that give me any more protection?
It will be interesting to see what comes of the Google court appeal, I'm sure there will be one.