Members of the National Association of Newspapers in Brazil (ANJ) decided to abandon Google News, banning the search engine from using their content.
The ANJ represents 154 of the country's papers, including O Globo and O Estado de Sao Paulo, which argue that Google refused to pay for content and was driving traffic away from their websites.
The decision was made during the Assembly of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), where Google's public policy director, Marcel Leonardi, defended its decision not to pay. "Google News channels a billion clicks to news sites around the world”, he said, and compared ANJ's demands to a restaurant taxing a cab driver for taking tourists to eat there.
"Staying with Google News was not helping us grow our digital audiences," said the president of Brazil's ANJ, Carlos Fernando Lindenberg Neto. "By providing the first few lines of our stories to internet users, the service reduces the chances that they will look at the entire story in our websites.”
In response, Leonardi said that “if the reader is satisfied with the small blurb (we offer), that means the story did not call his attention that much.”
Despite Brazilian newspapers will loose 5% of its traffic with this new measure, “is the price we have to pay for the protection of the paper and the brand”, explained Carlos Müller, press assessor and secretary of ANJ's Committee of Digital Strategies.
According to Lindenberg Neto, “Google News benefits commercially from that quality content and is unwilling to discuss a remuneration model for the production of these materials.”
IAPA’s general assembly came to an end without any agreements and the number of visits wasn't enough to justify the use of newspapers' headlines without receiving payment.
The debate on Google's use of headlines came to force last week in Europe, where the company threatened the French media saying to stop displaying links to French publishers' content if the government introduces taxes for search engines in order to display links to publishers' content.
Similar plans are being developed in Germany and in May 2011, a Belgium court ruled that Google infringed copyright in newspaper reports when it linked to the papers' websites or published part of the texts on its Google News.
However, even though all of ANJ’s newspapers have left Google News and that is not possible to search for content published by their print versions, the material published by their respective sites can be found.
This is the first time a newspaper association mobilizes and recommends its members to leave the news search service at the same time. Brazil will loose only 5% of its search, but Google is loosing one of the biggest and emerging economies in times of crisis.