In a confrontation that has been building for months, negotiations between the Associated Press and Google over licensing fees for hosting the AP's content on Google News appear to have broken down.
That is the logical conclusion since Google News has not added any new AP content since December 24, as first reported tonight by Danny Sullivan on his Search Engine Land blog.
Sullivan received the following statement from Google:
"We have a licensing agreement with the Associated Press that permits us to host its content on Google properties such as Google News. Some of that content is still available today. At the moment we're not adding new hosted content from the AP."
Since Google's current licensing deal with AP ends in late January, and allows for stories to only be hosted for the first 30 days after they are published, it would appear that Google is acting to protect itself in the event the negotiations do not yield a new deal.
AP executives have been outspoken over the past year about protecting their content from online aggregators like Google News, which they accuse of undermining the wire service's viability as an ongoing business.
Besides paying for the AP's content blurbs, Google News is a major driver of traffic to the AP and its member newspapers, so the current haitus in their relationship is no doubt reducing the audience to such news stories dramatically.