AFP Says ‘Oui’ to Google News

UPDATED: Google News will once again index content from the Agence France-Presse (AFP), settling a lawsuit the French news agency brought against the search engine giant in 2005.

The two parties inked a licensing agreement that will put AFP headlines and photographs back on Google News, Google Actualities and other Google  services.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

“The agreement will allow uses of AFP’s content in ways that go beyond its typical use of content in Google’s services, which features just headlines and snippets of text to provide just a taste of what an article offers,” AFP chairman and Chief Executive Officer Pierre Louette said in a statement.

The settlement comes after two years of squabbling between the parties. In March 2005, AFP sued Google, claiming that Google News cuts into its subscription business.

“Without AFP’s permission, defendant is reproducing and publicly displaying AFP’s photographs, headlines, and story leads on defendant’s news aggregation Web site,” AFP claimed in the suit, which was filed in the United States and France.

AFP, which has signed licensing agreements with Yahoo, MSN AOL and other “major Internet players,” sought damages and called for Google to cease its indexing of AFP content.

Today’s agreement ends the gripe.

Google has also faced pressure from other European news sources. In February, a Belgian court sided with European newspaper publishers, ruling Google must pay fines for violating that country’s copyright laws with Google News.

Meanwhile, Google said it apologized to a Chinese search rival,, which claimed that a new Google tool for inputting Chinese characters copied material from Sohu’s search engine.

The tool, Chinese Pinyin Input Method Editor, is a test product meant to make it easier to type complex Chinese characters auto-completing them as users type.

Google said it crawled the Internet to determine which words should be most frequently completed. The company admitted to its mistake, admitting that some material came from “non-Google data sources.”

“We remain highly committed to resolving this matter professionally and expeditiously with Sohu, and have since apologized,” Google said in a statement e-mailed to internetnews.vom.

“Our Chinese team is talking directly with Sohu in order to address any concerns in a prompt and cooperative way.”

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