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Google settled a lawsuit with the Agence France-Presse news agency over the use of content on Google News without AFP’s permission.

In a dispute that has been mirrored in copyright lawsuits brought by authors, publishers and media companies against its Google Print and YouTube video services, AFP sought $17.5m damages.

The agency said Friday it had signed a licensing agreement with Google giving the internet company the right to post news and photos and settling the suit filed two years ago.

The details of the deal were not made public but the parties said in a joint statement that it would “enable the use of AFP’s newswire content in innovative, new ways.”

Google settled a similar dispute with the Associated Press newswire in August by agreeing to pay AP for use of news and photos.

Google News carries no advertisements and aggregates links to stories from 4,500 news sources. Other internet companies such as AOL and Yahoo have licensed content from AFP.

Google removed AFP content from Google News after the French company filed the lawsuit.

Newspapers have not objected to Google linking to their content – it has driven traffic to their sites, which can boost advertising revenues. But the man who bought the Tribune media group this week has indicated he may challenge Google’s use of its content.

Sam Zell, peaking at Stanford University on Thursday night, said: “If all of the newspapers in America did not allow Google to steal their content for nothing, what would Google do?”

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