A highly publicized case that has been going on for the last two years in which the large international service, Agence France-Presse, sued Google Inc. claiming Google, through Google News, infringed on its copyrights was settled last week.
Venable partner, Joshua Kaufman, head of the firm’s Copyright & Licensing group represented Agence France-Presse. While the terms of the settlement are confidential, Google is now licensing AFP’s materials. The license encompasses Google News as well as other new products that AFP and Google will jointly produce.
The issues raised in the case have widespread implications as to the breadth and scope of the rights of news providers on the internet, whether news aggregation services such as Google News exceeded the scope of fair use, whether the headlines, story leads and reduced size photos were protected by copyright. Since the case was settled, no definitive precedents on these key issues were annunciated. However, the suit and resulting settlement and license agreement should put all news aggregators and those who reproduce news on notice of their potential exposure.