We were just talking about how confused news organizations are
with the fact that Google News gives them free traffic, but it's time to revisit one of the earlier disputes on this topic. In 2005 the Associated Press contacted Google to express their concern over Google News linking to AP content
. This, of course, is ridiculous. There is absolutely nothing illegal about linking to content (or including a brief snippet of that content). However, with the AP making a lot of noise about this, last August Google signed a deal with AP
, paying them an unknown amount of money to license AP content. This seemed strange -- and, in fact, Google insisted that the deal had absolutely nothing (nothing!) to do with the links to AP content on Google News. Rather, Google insisted, the deal was about some new product that would make use of licensed AP content. Well, some have noticed that an entire year has gone by and no such product has been revealed
. It's looking more and more like Google simply paid the Associated Press off to prevent a lawsuit (and, possibly, to put pressure on Google News competitors to pay off news organizations as well). Perhaps Google really is working on a new product that will use AP content -- but in the meantime, it looks like it paid the AP for a year's worth of content it didn't need to pay for.