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Google wins victory in row with German publishers

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - A German regulator handed Google Inc a victory on Friday as it said it would not pursue a complaint brought against the internet search engine operator by a group of publishers for giving users access to their news articles.

Several publishers including Axel Springer SE and Burda had banded together in a group called VG Media to demand Google pay them for making their online articles available to the public.

"Sufficient suspicion is always necessary to initiate an abuse procedure. The complaint from VG Media did not establish this," Andreas Mundt, president of Germany's Federal Cartel Office, said in a statement on Friday.

Under German legislation that came into effect just over a year ago, publishers can prohibit search engines and similar services from using their news articles beyond very short excerpts.

The cartel office said, though, that the scope of that legislation was not yet entirely clear. It said it would nonetheless monitor Google's reaction to publishers' demands and launch anti-trust proceedings if warranted.

(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by David Holmes)

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