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The future of aggregated news sites: AFP v. Google

The future of aggregated news sites supplied by internet companies such as Google was called into question: The French news agency AFP (Agence France-Presse)  is suing Google Inc. before the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., for pulling together photos and story excerpts from thousands of news Web sites. AFP said the "Google News" service infringes on AFP's copyrights by reproducing information from the Web sites of subscribers of the Paris-based news wholesaler and is seeking $17.5m in damages and wants an injunction issued against Google to stop showing its news items in the first paragraph of its news feeds.

AFP alleged that Google has ignored requests to cease and desist from infringing its copyright work. AFP's own Web site includes a "robots.txt" file that spurns search engines, telling them to avoid indexing its news pages. But things are quite more complicated than that, because the stories Google used came not directly from AFP but from its subscribers, some of which might want the rest of their sites indexed to generate ad-boosting referrals. Google says it has begun removing AFP's stories from its news aggregation site.

AFP's lawsuit (pdf)

After discussion, the parties agreed upon a method of determining a “sample” of fourteen dates on which to examine Google News and AFP’s copyright registrations, for the purposes of determining liability or lack thereof for injunctive relief. See the joint status report for more details!




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