Google has struck a licensing agreement with The Associated Press that grants the search engine company permission to use the wire service's material in a broader manner than it currently does.
The news comes as Google is embroiled in litigation with another global wire service, Agence France Presse, which is suing Google for including its material in the Google News search and aggregation Web site.
That case centers on the inclusion of Agence France Presse text snippets, photo thumbnails and headlines linked to articles in external Web sites. Google News aggregates links to online articles and accompanying photos from about 4,500 news outlets.
Agence France Presse maintains that the practice amounts to copyright violation because Google hasn't licensed the material it is using. Google counters that it is protected by the fair use principle, which allows for limited use of copyright material. Google also argues that copyright law doesn't protect headlines, text snippets and thumbnail images.
The licensing agreement with Associated Press is intended to let Google use original content for future features and products, and it doesn't affect the current use of Associated Press material in Google News, a Google spokeswoman said via e-mail on Thursday.
"We are very excited about the innovative new products we will build with full access to this [Associated Press] content," she wrote. "Google News is fully consistent with fair use and always has been."