Belgian newspapers ask Yahoo to remove links


BRUSSELS, Belgium -- A group of Belgian newspapers has asked Yahoo! Inc. to remove links to their archived stories from its Web search service, claiming they infringe copyright laws, their lawyers confirmed Friday.

The move follows a legal challenge by the group against Google Inc. that has seen Belgian newspaper content stripped from Google News pending a court ruling expected early this year.

In a statement, Yahoo! France insisted it "respects the copyright of content owners" and said it would "respond in an appropriate manner" to the complaint.

The legal warning was sent to Yahoo! France by lawyers acting for Copiepresse, a copyright protection group representing 19, mostly French-language, newspapers. They complain that the search engine's "cached" links offered free access to archived articles that the papers usually sell on a subscription basis.