Google said on Tuesday, in response to threats by Rupert Murdoch to ban the search engine from listing content from his news empire, that any company could ask to have stories taken off.
In an interview in his native Australia, Murdoch accused Google of stealing stories from News Corp. newspapers for the Google News service, and said he might ban them once he introduces charges for the papers' online editions.
Google said it was up to individual news organisations to decide whether they wanted their stories listed on Google News, and there were "simple technical standards" that would remove them if they wished.
"News organisations are in complete control over whether and how much of their content appears in search results," it said said in a statement issued in London.
"Publishers put their content on the web because they want it to be found, so very few choose not to include their material in Google News and web search. But if they tell us not to include it, we don't."
It added: "If publishers want their content to be removed from Google News specifically all they need to do it tell us."
Google said its news listings service and web searches were a "tremendous source of promotion" for news organisations, sending them "about 100,000 clicks every minute".
It added that Google News's approach was "fully consistent with copyright law", as it only showed the headline, short snippet of the story and a link to the publishers' site where readers could read the full version.
News Corp owns an enormous number of newspapers around the world including The Australian, the New York Post and The Times of London, and is planning to soon charge all its online readers.
(c) 2009 AFP