Re: me thinks something is afoot!
"Whats the long game that Google are playing in the legal field... "
I think they're prodding the edges of the law to see what can and can't be done and I'm not sure it's bad in this case.
While I can understand journalists may be upset at a clearly non-journalistic organisation attempting to use their rights to avoid taking down articles, I'm not sure it's as black and white as many are making out. I'm certainly not disputing Googles relationship with news media as being "parasitic".
Do we see Google as a library and largely content agnostic (they collect and distribute using a more user friendly method that doesn't require users to go to the source) or do we see Google as something that we censor via laws? I suspect Google sees itself closer to the former (at least in search) and the reality is the later, only we prefer not to use the word censor due to the negative connotations. If Google agrees with the laws they are left unchallenged (i.e historically illegal in western countries legal systems), if there is more of a grey area, they are prepared to fight it.
The legal arguments used might upset some, but lawyers have tended to favour a winnable argument over public perception.