Licensing, AP & Google News

Jarvis has a post about the Associated Press‘ conversations with Google about using their news and information without an operating agreement. He says: “In this new world of distributed media, if you’re not aggregated, you’re nowhere” and “So if the AP pulled its content out of GoogleNews, it would be pulling traffic away from its members — its owners — and that would be a big mistake.”
Jeff’s points are good, but it’s completely fair and appropriate for the AP to want Google to execute a similar licensing agreement to the ones it has with AOL and Yahoo–why wouldn’t they want that?
As a member coop, AP’s job is to provide services to and for its members–and that includes a pass-back of licensing and ad revenue. Requiring an agreement with GoogleNews makes good business sense.
But..on the other hand, when Jeff says AP should make the terms work or “Otherwise, they will become the dead trees that fell in the forest and no one was there to read or watch them” I completely agree.
One of the big lessons of our time, I’m convinced, is watching the old legacy media businesses struggle to cope with the new rules–or lack of them. Although AP is well within its scope to want to have an executed deal, that doesn’t mean more nimble organizations won’t have a significant competitive advantage in this shifting world–the law of perpetual revolution dictates they will.
AP will undoubtly get what they want–and need–from Google.
But that alone will not make them successful.
But neither will bending the rules.
(Disclosure: 5ive has consulted for AP)
Update: Terry Heaton adds to this discussion,