Google to Drop AFP from News Index

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-03-22 Print this article Print

Updated: Following a lawsuit from the French news wire, Google decides to remove Agence France Presse from Google News. But AFP says it will continue pursuing its case.

Google has decided to remove Agence France Presse from Google News after the global news wire filed a lawsuit last week seeking to bar the display of its content on the news search engine. France-based AFP sued Google in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, alleging that Google News infringes on its copyright by displaying AFP headlines, images and story leads without its permission.
But on Monday, a Google spokesman confirmed that the AFP will be dropped from the Google News index. Google also will retroactively remove AFP content from the news index. "We allow publishers to opt out of Google News," spokesman Steve Langdon said in an e-mail. "Most publishers, however, want to be included in Google News because they believe it is a benefit to them and their readers." AFPs lead counsel said the news services will continue to pursue its case, as well as a second case it filed a couple of weeks ago against Google in France. The French case also centers on what AFP alleges is unauthorized use of its content on Google News, said Joshua Kaufman, a partner at law firm Venable LLP, in Washington. "It doesnt really change the core issues in the complaint of the infringement and what we believe to be inappropriate conduct of taking our photographs, story leads and headlines," Kaufman said. Kaufman likened Google News to traditional newspapers in the way it aggregates and displays news content, including photos, leads and headlines, without a user conducting a search. AFP sells subscriptions to its news service, while Google News offers free access to its news search service. Click here to read about Google News moving into customization. Google News is separate from Googles main Web index. Google News, launched in beta in 2002, crawls and indexes news sources worldwide, including 4,500 English sources. News articles typically remain available for about 30 days on the news search site. Google has removed news sources from Google News before, but Langdon declined to provide details about the specific publishers who have requested removal. Editors Note: This story was updated to include comments from Agence France Presses lead counsel. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on enterprise search technology.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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