Search for a Google-AP pact succeeds

Associated Press / August 31, 2010

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SAN FRANCISCO — Google Inc. will be able to continue posting content from the Associated Press under a new licensing deal the companies adopted after months of sometimes thorny negotiations.

The AP said the companies also will work together on ways to improve the discovery and distribution of news. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Google, the Internet’s most profitable company, began to pay for AP’s content in 2006 after the not-for-profit news agency threatened to sue. That contract expired in January but was extended while negotiations on a new deal progressed.

Even after the 2006 agreement, Google and AP still had an uneasy relationship.

AP executives have said the news cooperative wasn’t being adequately compensated, partly because Google’s search engine pointed to websites that the AP said had pirated its content.

Google, in turn, insisted it was simply fulfilling its mission to help its users find information.

Google said it intended to help the AP find more ways to make money online while striving to create a better experience for its own users. Neither company provided further details.

Google will publish entire stories from the AP in the news section of its website. That’s a departure from its usual practice of showing snippets from stories posted on thousands of other websites. Google maintains those excerpts qualify as “fair use’’ under copyright law, exempting it from licensing fees.

The Google deal is part of AP’s effort to bring in more revenue from the Web to help offset a drop in revenue from newspapers and broadcasters.