AFP v. Google Settles

By Eric Goldman

The Agence France-Presse v. Google lawsuit has settled. See news reports: AP, CNET News.com. Like it did with the Associated Press, Google struck a licensing deal for AFP content, including indexing it in Google News. Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but I would shave my head if money wasn’t moving from Google to AFP. Two observations:

1) This settlement is another example of a more content-owner-friendly Google striking deals with content owners rather than intransigently fighting them. We’ve seen the new warm-n-fuzzy Google working with content owners on YouTube, plus the AP deal last year, and now the AFP settlement. I expect Google to show even more conciliation with content owners in the future, not less.

2) Historically, Google’s margins have been ridiculously high. If I’m right and Google is paying off both AP and AFP, I think Google’s margins will decline over time as it has to pay more for content. See, e.g., Zell’s announcement that he wants Google to pay up for indexing Tribune content.

More comments about the case at InfoWorld.

Previous blog coverage:

* Initial Assessment of AFP v. Google (March 2005)

* AFP v. Google Update (March 2005)

* An AFP Licensee Tells His Story of Being Kicked Out of Google News (March 2005)

* Answer in AFP v. Google (July 2005)

* Google Loses Belgium Copyright Case–Google v. Copiepresse (February 2007)

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