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Brazilians strip Google News bare: News barons decide to pull out

Google News 'presence' in Brazil is 'small'

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Members of the National Association of Newspapers in Brazil (ANJ) have decided to stop Google from displaying snippets of their content on the internet giant's 'News' service.

ANJ, which represents publishers making up approximately 90 per cent of the newspaper circulation market in Brazil, said that the appearance of its members' content on Google News was a hindrance to their plans to grow their online presence, according to a report by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.

According to the Knight Center report, ANJ president Carlos Fernando Lindenberg Neto said:

Google News benefits commercially from that quality content and is unwilling to discuss a remuneration model for the production of these materials. Staying in Google News was not helping us grow our digital audiences. On the contrary, by providing the first few lines of our stories to internet users, the service reduces the chances that they will look at the entire story in our websites.

Lindenberg said that the potential loss of traffic to newspaper websites generated by Google News was "an acceptable price [to pay] to protect our content and brands". He said Google News' "presence" in Brazil was "small", according to the Knight Center report.

However, Google has claimed that its News service helps to direct a billion 'clicks' to news websites around the world, the report said.

Google has recently outlined its opposition to plans in France that would force search engines to pay in order to display links to publishers' content in its search engine rankings. Similar plans are being developed in Germany. Google has threatened to stop displaying links to French publishers' content if the government in France introduces such a law.

In May 2011 a court in Belgium ruled that Google had infringed copyright in newspaper reports when it linked to the papers' websites or copied sections of stories on its Google News service. The ruling backed an earlier judgment by the Court of First Instance in Belgium.

Copiepresse, an agency acting for newspapers, sued Google on behalf of the papers in 2006. The newspapers argued that they were losing online subscriptions and advertising revenue because Google was posting free snippets of the stories and links to the full article on Google News.

However, as well as stopping the Google News snippets the internet giant also stopped displaying links to the newspaper websites via its search engine results. It returned the links to search engine results only after Copiepresse gave it permission to "re-include" the sites in the indexes. Google had said it would be happy to include the Belgian newspaper websites in its search results if they would waive the potential penalties a court could issue.

The newspapers had complained that Google had been "unnecessarily aggressive" in removing them from the search engine.

Copyright © 2012, Out-Law.com

Out-Law.com is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

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