News

Will Google News Pay for Content?

Google has reached a settlement in its copyright suit in Belgium with with news photographers and journalists. The NY Times (reg req’d) carries the Bloomberg story:

Google, the world’s most-used Internet search engine, reached a settlement with Belgian photographers and journalists yesterday in a copyright dispute over how Google’s news service links to newspaper content.

The agreement was made with the Belgian copyright groups Sofam, representing about 3,700 photographers, and Scam, on behalf of journalists. In September, Google lost a copyright suit initially filed by Copiepresse, a group representing French- and German-language newspapers in Belgium. That case is being reheard, but the company has removed links to 17 papers from its Google News page.

A similar suit is pending in France with Agence France-Presse (AFP). Yahoo!, for example, currently pays AFP to use its content. Google reportedly reached an agreement to pay AP for use of its wire stories and related content earlier this year.

The terms of the Beligian settlement were not disclosed.

It will be interesting to see whether there’s a similar outcome in the French case and whether the two  (plus the rumored AP deal) embolden US publishers to seek similar agreements in the US. Google obviously has an interest in paying as little as possible (or nothing) for news content.

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Greg Sterling is the founding principal of Sterling Market Intelligence, a consulting and research firm focused on online consumer and advertiser behavior and the relationship between the Internet and traditional media, with an emphasis on the local marketplace.

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