The AFP news agency, for some reason, felt really hard done by Google, and decided to sue the company for having the audacity to link to its stories. While AFP's customers are understandably upset, since Google removed AFP from Google News, taking away a significant source of traffic. Google has now muddied the waters a little bit by announcing a deal to pay the AP, another news agency for the use of its stories and photographs. While at first glance, this might appear to bolster AFP's case, Google is quick to add the deal has to do with a new product that will complement Google News, not for its linking to AP stories within the News product. This announcement really doesn't change anything in regards to the AFP case -- Google News is still nothing more than a search engine, falling well within fair use boundaries. And the real fact of the matter hasn't changed -- that Google News drives traffic to news providers' sites, where they're free to monetize that traffic however they see fit, or attempt to monetize it, anyway. AFP had other options than to sue Google and get itself removed from Google News. Even if it prevails in the case and gets the $17.5 million in damages, or even a bit more, it won't be ahead in the long run. For too long, traditional news organizations have resisted adapting to the internet. They need to understand they've got more to gain by working with the likes of Google to help craft win-win scenarios, rather than resisting innovation and technology.
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