updated 4/1/2010 3:17:24 PM ET 2010-04-01T19:17:24

The Justice Department is supporting a proposal by The Associated Press to create a voluntary digital registry to help news organizations track their content on the Internet, including unlicensed use of their materials.

Christine Varney, the head of the department's antitrust division, notified the AP of its position in a letter released Thursday.

The proposed registry would be a database of news content from many different outlets, specifying how that content can be used.

The registry is designed to help news organizations monitor where stories go on the Internet — and deter Web sites from posting content without paying licensing fees.

Varney says such a registry may offer a new way for news content users to understand the terms of use and licenses for Internet news.

Tom Curley, the AP's president and CEO, said the registry would help news organizations learn more about how their content is used, to the benefit of consumers.

"We're delighted that the Department of Justice recognized the need for a such a service," Curley said.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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