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Dancing With Google, Does the AP Have the Moves?

We've been covering the threats by Associated Press executives to close down access to its content to online companies that don't pay for the privilege to do so for some time now, so the latest revelations about which company is the real target of the AP's wrath comes as no surprise: Google.

As Forbes.com reports, talks between the two opposites apparently have not been going all that well. In fact, the AP's chief executive is quoted as saying that if Google doesn't play nice soon, "They will not get our copy going forward."

Sadly, this is an empty threat. The AP seems hell-bent on creating its own news portal, a destination site, or some other conception that may have been current somewhere around a decade ago.

But the AP does not know how to do any of these things.

The fact is that the AP signed a licensing deal with Google in 2006, which has since (surprise) proved beneficial to the search giant but apparently not as much so to the 163-year-old cooperative owned by the (sigh) newspaper companies that are currently going through an unrelenting hell.

Are you familiar with the lovely old leftist ballad, "Goodnight Irene?" Something tells me that this bittersweet finish would be a better soundtrack for this particular drama than the more pragmatic "Save the Last Dance for Me." The blunt truth is that the AP needs Google (and benefits more from it) now more than vice verse.

And that is the problem with every other content creator or provider in our time, as long as they all stand alone.

If, on the other hand, a critical mass were to develop among the old media execs currently freaking out about their impending demise individually in such a way that empowered them to collectively confront the Google monster for what it is (from their point of view), they might still have time to avert disaster and turn the tables on that guy who may indeed have all the right moves on everybody individually, until they stage an intervention...

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