Google Denies Allegations of Secret UK News Deals

Dennis Faas's picture

Google has vehemently denied allegations that the company has entered into secret deals with UK news companies for the rights to use the companies' material on Google News.

The allegations were sparked from an article published in Scotland's Sunday Herald newspaper. The article claimed that Google had made arrangements with several large news groups in the UK over how Google would carry their content on Google News.

The article further asserted that "the deals are reputedly being kept strictly secret for fear that Google will end up having to pay for similar licenses with all of the 4500 news services it carries on its news aggregator." (Source:

A Google spokesperson fired back at the article, saying that the article is not true and that the company hasn't been able to contact the reporter who wrote the story.

"We have not changed our approach to Google News," the spokesperson said. "We believe Google News is legal. We index the content of thousands of news sources online. When users go to Google News, they see only headlines, snippets and image thumbnails from the relevant news articles. If people want to read the story, they must click through links in our results to the original website." (Source:

However, the spokesperson explained that in certain instances, Google does go above and beyond copyright laws. "In some circumstances we have entered into an agreement that allows us to [make] greater use of content. For example, we've agreed to pay the Associated Press (AP) for the right to make new uses of their news content -- uses that go beyond the limited uses permitted by copyright laws. This use of AP content will make our services even more valuable." (Source:

Google has consistently denied that any of its deals with news organizations have anything to do with the legality of Google News. Google has also aggressively defended its actions in court -- although not all of its efforts to do so have been successful. Earlier this year, Google lost a case against a group of Belgian newspapers who weren't too happy with Google News' practices. (Source:

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