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AFP, Google sign content deal


Washington, April 06, 2007. Agence France-Presse and Google signed a licensing agreement Friday giving the search engine the right to post AFP news and photos and settling a lawsuit filed by AFP two years ago. A joint statement by the companies said the accord allows the Internet giant to post AFP content on Google News and other services. Details of the pact were not made public.

The deal "will enable the use of AFP's newswire content in innovative, new ways that will dramatically improve the way users experience newswire content on the Internet," the statement said.

AFP agreed to withdraw a lawsuit filed in March 2005 accusing the world's number one Internet search engine of copyright infringement for allegedly posting AFP headlines, news summaries and photographs without permission. The lawsuit, closely watched in the media industry, was filed in the United States and France and sought damages and interest as well as a bar on the use of AFP text and photos without prior permission.

AFP chairman and Chief Executive Officer Pierre Louette welcomed the agreement as a significant step forward for the Paris-based agency, one of the world's top suppliers of news, photos, graphics and video.

He said AFP headlines and photographs would again be available on Google news, Google Actualites and other Google services, driving traffic to websites displaying AFP news content. But the accord also goes further.

"The agreement will allow uses of AFP's content in ways that go beyond its typical use of content in Google's services, which features just headlines and snippets of text to provide just a taste of what an article offers," Louette said. He did not elaborate.

AFP, with a staff of 4,000 journalists and stringers covering 165 countries, already has licensing agreements with Yahoo, MSN, AOL and other major Internet players, as well as more than 7,000 clients worldwide.

Word of AFP's partnership agreement with Google came eight months after the search engine announced a licensing deal with the American news agency Associated Press. AP said Google had agreed to pay for its content but provided no details.

Google, created in 1998 and based in California's Silicon Valley, counts more than 10,000 employees and operates free search services that provide results in 35 languages.

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