Google News faces mass newspaper boycott in Brazil

Jesus statue in Rio De Janeiro

This will sound familiar to anyone who has watched Google News’ relations with news publishers over the years..

The next country in which tension has erupted is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

All 154 members of the Association of Newspapers in Brazil (ANJ), comprising 90 percent of  the country’s newspaper circulation, recently opted out of Google News, claiming the search firm should pay them to re-run their headlines and excerpts.

Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas reports the issue provoked disagreement between a Google executive and a local newspaper lawyer at this week’s American Press Association General Assembly in Sao Paulo.

We have already seen this issue play out in Belgium, Germany and France, where national newspapers associations have reported Google to courts and to regulators for republishing their headlines.

But Brazil is a new ball game, with an increasingly affluent, increasingly digital middle class ready to grow the country from an “emerging market” in to a real market. If Google cannot get publishers on board, it may be missing out on some of the Latin America boom opportunity.

At the General Assembly, Google reeled out the same stock defence it has used in all related cases elsewhere – it sends four billion clicks to news sites each month (via Estadao).

But, with intransigence like that on display from the publishers there, chances aren’t good. “By providing the first few lines of our stories to internet users, (Google) reduces the chances that they will look at the entire story in our websites,” ANJ president Carlos Fernando Lindenberg Neto told Knight Center - the direct opposite logic to that which Google brandishes.

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