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Google News faces boycott by Brazil's newspapers

Google is facing a boycott by Brazilian newspaper publishers who have signed an agreement to opt out of Google News, it was revealed today.

All 154 members of the Association of Newspapers in Brazil (ANJ), (opens in new tab) which account for 90 per cent of the country's newspaper circulation, recently opted out of Google News, claiming the search firm should pay them to re-run their headlines.

According to a blog posted by Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas (opens in new tab), the issue provoked disagreement between a Google executive and a local newspaper lawyer at this week's American Press Association General Assembly (opens in new tab) in Sao Paulo.

Google argued that it doesn't need to pay for the rights to use headlines because Google News will benefit newspapers by redirecting large volumes of traffic to their websites.

"It would be absurd for a restaurant to tax a cab driver for taking tourists to eat there," said Google executive Marcel Leonardi.

(opens in new tab)Brazilian news companies have long complained that the number of visits that arrive from Google News has not been enough to justify the use of their headlines without receiving payment.

"Google News benefits commercially from that quality content and is unwilling to discuss remuneration. We concluded that staying in Google News was not helping us grow our digital audiences," said ANJ president Carlos Fernando Lindenberg Neto.

The news comes after Google threatened to exclude French media sites from its search results if France passes a law that would make search engines pay for content.

French newspaper publishers have allegedly been pushing for a law that would make search engines pay them each time a user reads an article by clicking through to their website. Other European countries are also considering similar laws.

Earlier this year, a law granting publications Internet copyright that would mean Google would have to pay them to list their sites was approved, but not as yet passed, in Germany.

In 2011, Belgium passed a similar law and, as a result, popular titles including Le Soir (opens in new tab) and La Libre Belgique (opens in new tab) no longer appear in Google searches.

Image credit: Flickr (PedroKirilos (opens in new tab))