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AP names ex-ABC exec Westin CEO of licensing group

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April 14, 2011 01:35 PM EST | AP

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NEW YORK — The Associated Press on Thursday named former ABC News President David Westin as CEO of an independent agency created to generate more revenue for the AP and other media companies by licensing news content for online use.

The AP has said the top priority of the News Licensing Group will be to ensure that news providers are paid for content appearing on websites, phones, tablet computers and other devices. Potential customers include websites that run or excerpt content from those news providers without paying for it.

The News Licensing Group is set to start operations in July with content and data from more than 1,000 publications, the AP said. It will be owned by its founding news organizations.

The AP, which is a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its member U.S. newspapers, said more than two dozen newspapers and newspaper groups have pledged to invest in the new agency. The AP and Westin would not name them.

Westin, 58, stepped down late last year after nearly 14 years as president of ABC News, saying he wanted to pursue other opportunities.

"I said in February that the News Licensing Group will be a game changer for news providers worldwide, and we have in David Westin the right person, respected throughout the news and entertainment industry, to ensure that this happens," said Tom Curley, president and CEO of the AP.

AP Vice President and General Counsel Srinandan Kasi will leave that job to serve as the new licensing agency's chief operating officer and executive vice president.