The Associated Press Board of Directors has approved the company's plans for an independent digital news licensing agency.

The move follows a decision by the board in October to direct AP to create a digital rights clearinghouse which would provide rights clearance and privacy tools, ways to license content from publishers and media intelligence services about news consumption.

The new entity, to be called the News Licensing Group, will launch in summer this year, building on the work of AP's News Registry, which tags, tracks and measures the use of content online.

According to a release, "The News Licensing Group will also deal with the licensing, marketing, and distributing of news content "in a way that respects intellectual property rights and enables news organisations to make continued investments in their news operations."

The enterprise, which will be owned by news publishers, will include news content from AP and more than a thousand publications, the release adds.

"This will be a game changer for news providers worldwide," Tom Curley, president and CEO of the Associated Press, said.

"It's pro-competitive and it's pro-consumer, and will be a leader in the digital information business. We'll be looking at development opportunities and seeking content commitments from publishers. We will move beyond text to photos and video and expand internationally later this year."

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