Despite suit, Google News still indexing AFP content

Google is still indexing Agence France Presse content in Google News, despite its pledge 16 months ago to stop doing it.

Despite a pledge to the contrary made 16 months ago, Google is still returning links to Agence France Presse (AFP) articles in its Google News Web site.

The French news agency sued Google in March 2005, alleging copyright infringement over the inclusion of AFP content in Google News, a news search service which aggregates links to online articles and accompanying photos from about 4,500 news outlets.

Days later, Google announced it would scrub Google News clean of AFP content, including text, thumbnails of photos, and headlines linked to articles in external Web sites. However, a Google News search for "Agence France Presse" done mid-afternoon (U.S. Eastern Time) Monday shows that AFP articles are still being indexed by Google News.

In the first two pages of results, the English-language version of Google News returned links to several recent AFP-bylined articles, including one that appeared this weekend on The New York Times' online edition headlined "Uganda Says Rebels' Words Threaten Talks." Meanwhile, AFP-bylined stories also came up after doing the same search in Google News' French-language version.

A lawyer for Google declined to comment, while a Google spokesman couldn't immediately explain why AFP links and content are still appearing on Google News. An AFP official in its North America headquarters in Washington, DC referred questions to its lawyer, who didn't immediately reply to a comment request.

Google isn't under any legal obligation at this point to refrain from including AFP content on Google News. However, Google made a decision to comply with AFP's demands, possibly to bolster its defense in the case.

Last year, a Google spokesman said Google's policy is to comply with opt-out requests from news outlets that don't want their content appearing on Google News. Still, Google's ability to fully comply with such requests is, at the very least, questionable, considering it is still serving up AFP content and links almost 18 months after pledging to rid Google News of them.

AFP generates revenue by charging fees to news outlets that subscribe to its wire service. In its complaint, AFP charges Google with copyright violation, alleging that, as a non-subscriber to AFP, Google has no right to include AFP content in Google News.

The news agency is seeking to recover damages of at least US$17.5 million from Google and wants the court to forbid Google from including its content in Google News.

Google and AFP are due in court again on Tuesday for a status conference with Judge Gladys Kessler in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia about the ongoing litigation. This type of conference is usually held to update the judge on the parties' process of discovery, or sharing of information, prior to the start of the trial.

According to a pre-conference status report filed by Google's lawyers with the court last week, the case's discovery process apparently hasn't gone smoothly. In January, Google and AFP agreed to select certain dates for which Google would provide reconstructions of Google News home pages, so that AFP could identify instances of alleged copyright violations. Google delivered the reconstructions but, as of July 14, the date of Google's filing, the AFP hadn't identified any allegedly infringing instances of headlines and text, according to Google's filing.

To deliver thumbnails, which Google doesn't save, Google needs additional information from AFP which AFP hadn't yet delivered, according to the filing.

Because AFP hasn't even identified instances of alleged copyright infringement, Google argues in its filing that its previously submitted motion to dismiss the lawsuit remains valid "and ripe for decision" by the judge.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?