Agence France-Press joins French queue to sue Google

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Tue Jun 14 12:34:42 UTC 2005

AFP news agency joins French queue to sue Google

By Michael Hennigan
Mar 19, 2005, 16:47

Following several legal actions by French companies against search engine
Google, it's reported that the news agency Agence France Press (AFP) is
claiming damages of at least $17.5 million and a court order barring
Google News from displaying AFP photographs, news headlines or story
leads, according to a suit filed last Thursday in a US District Court.
True to form for the senior executives of many news organizations, when
they create the news, it is conveniently viewed as not news. So AFP has
refused to comment. It has reported as follows:

Agence France-Presse has sued Google Inc. for copyright infringement,
alleging that the Internet search engine included AFP headlines, news
summaries and photographs published without permission. In a suit filed in
a Washington court, AFP sought damages and interest of at least $17.5
million (13.1 million) and an interdiction on the publication of its text
and photos without prior agreement. In Paris, the AFP management declined

AFP, which has its headquarters in Paris and bureaus around the world, is
one of the major global news agencies, and supplies its news services to
various kinds of media, including electronic. It has 600 online clients.

Last week, a court in Versailles, France, ruled that a lower court's
decision in favor of travel companies Luteciel SARL and Viaticum SA should
stand. Google France SARL had been ordered to pay 75,000 (US$100,000) in
fines and legal costs for abuse of two phrases trademarked by the
companies. In February, luxury goods group LVMH Mot Hennessy's Louis
Vuitton unit won a similar case against Google when a Paris court ruled
that Google infringed the trademark by allowing its competitors to use it
in Google's text advertising. In December, a French court ruled that
Google must refrain from using the trademarks of European resort chain Le
Meridien Hotels and Resorts to trigger keyword ads.

While trademark rights are important, the actions against a search engine
such as Google are classic examples of wanting to have your cake and eat
it.  In AFP's case, it can ensure that Google does not index its main site
by including the relevent code on its servers. Clients could also be
required to put similar code on their sites.

What's the betting that all these companies who have taken action against
Google, gladly take advantage of the free search services provided by

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