AP renews licensing deal with Yahoo, not yet with Google

The deal lets Yahoo publish AP stories on its Web sites

Yahoo has renewed its licensing deal with the Associated Press to post articles from the global wire service on Yahoo Web sites, the companies said on Monday.

The agreement contrasts with the state of similar negotiations between the AP and Google, which have apparently either stalled or not progressed according to schedule, leading Google to stop hosting AP stories on its Google News Web site.

"Yahoo has been an excellent partner for 12 years and has always recognized the value and importance of original, authoritative news. We are pleased Yahoo and AP will continue that valued relationship," AP spokesman Paul Colford said in an e-mailed statement.

"AP looks forward to deepening its partnership with Yahoo as we and our members explore new opportunities and new ways to engage with audiences," Colford added.

Meanwhile, Yahoo said AP articles are "an important part" of its effort to provide Yahoo visitors with comprehensive and relevant content. "We look forward to continuing our long-standing partnership with AP for many years to come," Yahoo spokeswoman Dana Lengkeek said via e-mail.

The AP and Google apparently are having a harder time coming to an agreement to renew their deal, which was announced in August 2006 but signed several months earlier. On Jan. 12, a Google spokesman said via e-mail that Google still had a licensing agreement with the AP but that it had stopped publishing AP stories on Google sites. On Monday, the spokesman said the situation remained the same.

News reports have speculated that the Google-AP deal is winding down and the renewal negotiations have stalled. The AP didn't respond to a request for comment about its negotiations with Google. An AP story on Monday stated that the news wire is in ongoing negotiations not only with Google but also with Microsoft.

The AP deal has allowed Google to post the full text of AP articles in Google News, instead of simply linking to AP stories on other Web sites.

Google's relationship with news organizations has often been tense. Publishers regularly grumble that Google is a parasite, indexing their content and linking to it from its regular search results and from Google News, without paying and without permission, while benefitting financially.

Google defends its practice of publishing headlines linked to news articles on external Web sites by saying that the fair use principle allows it. Google also often publishes short text snippets and thumbnail images along with the linked headlines.

Some publishers see great value in having their content linked to in Google News, because they can benefit from the Web traffic and monetize it through online ads.

However, the ad revenue of newspapers and magazines has dropped dramatically in recent years as marketers shift significant portions of their budgets to the Web and specifically to Google, creating resentment in the publishing industry.

In particular, wire services such as the AP and Agence France Presse see much less value in news aggregation sites like Google News. Wire services aren't as interested in having people visit their Web sites. The AP and AFP make money from licensing their content to publishers, so they are very protective of how their stories are used.

In fact, the AFP sued Google for copyright infringement in 2005 over Google's practice of linking to AFP stories published by other Web sites, namely newspapers that subscribe to the AFP content.

The case was settled out of court two years later, when Google agreed to sign a formal licensing agreement with the AFP that allows Google to post the full text of the French news agency's stories, similar to its deal with AP.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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