Search engine Google sued by Agence France Presse

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The issue of whose news content belongs to whom could get serious judicial review in a $17.5 million lawsuit brought against the search engine giant Google. The French news agency Agence France Presse (AFP) is suing Google News for including their headlines, story leads and thumbnail graphics on the site's news summary pages. AFP alleges they asked Google to refrain from the practice, but the site has not complied.

The basis for the suit is that AFP sells its content via a subscription. They allege Google News copies their content and provides it free in the form of a short summary. The suit was filed at the U.S. District court for the District of Columbia on Thursday.

Google has not responded to the lawsuit yet.

A federal appeals court ruling in 2002 allows web sites to use thumbnails and 30 to 40 words of text if the content is linked to the source. writes of Google's practice, "(it) does seem to follow the Federal ruling guidelines."