Am I Violating The DMCA By Visiting The NYTimes With NoScript Enabled?

from the simple-questions dept

As we continue to explore the NY Times' bizarrely pointless paywall, it comes as no surprise that the wall itself is barely any wall at all. It's not even a fence. It's basically a bunch of fence posts, and someone screaming: "Pay no attention to your own eyes. There is a fence here, and you should go round the front and pay at the entrance... unless someone sent you here. Then walk on through." That, of course, is bizarre, and it means that most people will never actually see any fence at all. But it gets even more bizarre when you discover that the "paywall" itself has apparently been written in javascript, meaning that when you do hit the wall, the full article you want to read actually loads in the HTML, it's just then blocked by some script asking you to pay up. That means it's even easier to remove than many had predicted (no need to even delete cookies or any such nonsense). In fact, that link above points people to NYTClean, a four-line javascript bookmarklet, that makes it easy to remove the paywall with (literally) the click of a button, should you actually encounter it.

Now, when I read that, my first thought was that certainly sounds like a "circumvention device" under the DMCA. The author is Canadian, so he may be protected for now, since Canada (thankfully) doesn't yet have an anti-circumvention clause that makes any such circumvention tool illegal -- though, the Canadian government is still apparently considering a law that would add just such a clause. Of course, to anyone who understands what's going on, that's ridiculous. Four simple lines of code to remove a javascript popup should not be considered a tool for infringement, but it is.

Of course, that got me wondering. I tend to use the always excellent NoScript extension when browsing, which turns off javascript, except on a few key sites where I enable it. If the stories about the NYT paywall being done in javascript are true, then I'll simply never run into it at all, no matter what I do.

So, here's the question: have I broken the law by using NoScript? I've used it for years, and it seems pretty ridiculous to claim that I now need to specifically go and whitelist the NYTimes just because it wants to hit me with an incredibly porous paywall. But, technically, I could see how an argument could be made that merely using NoScript makes me a DMCA violator by "circumventing" technical protection measures. Does this also mean that NoScript -- an incredibly useful tool -- has suddenly become a "circumvention device" overnight, because the NYTimes programmed an incredibly stupid paywall in javascript?

What this really should highlight is the massive problem with automatically outlawing all "circumvention" and "circumvention devices." It leads to particularly dumb situations like this, when a clueless newspaper puts up an amazingly poorly thought out paywall in a manner that makes very little sense.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 11:21am

    Unwittingly

    The innocent infringer defence may work yet.

     

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  2.  
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    crade (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 11:29am

    I would think even a spam filter or virus scanner would violate the DMCA unless they have special exceptions that only work for those particular things.

     

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  3.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 11:41am

    Inducement

    Interestingly, NYT has at least one article promoting the use of NoScript.

    Also, the site appears to work in Links, which suggests that accessibility software would also work without running up against the paywall.

     

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  4.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 11:51am

    Re: Unwittingly

    This loophole may actually have been intentional.

    Which calls to mind the question, is the NYT 'inducing infringement?'

     

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  5.  
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    Nate, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 11:53am

    Isn't there a requirement that the DRM has to be effective before it's covered by the law that says you can't bypass it?

    This paywall is obviously not effective.

     

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  6.  
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    blaktron (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 11:53am

    Its not a circumvention device

    As it was not designed to get around technical circumvention.... if it was then any older browsers would technically be circumvention devices, as would browsers on devices that dont support full javascripting. Also, how about the default security settings on Windows Server? I think there are so many devices that circumvent this paywall that any challenge would be meaningless...

     

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  7.  
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    Adam Casalino (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 11:53am

    I don't understand why you people are opposed to NYT wanting to make money off of its own content. Every website has the right to find a way to monetize its product. If it fails, it's because people decided not to buy it, not because erecting a paywall is some sort of work of grand villainy as you make it out to be.

     

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  8.  
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    Greevar (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 11:58am

    Re:

    So it is with all DRM. I haven't been stopped by DRM ever.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 11:59am

    Re:

    Careful, you might get lost in all that straw you're putting up.

     

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  10.  
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    RikuoAmero (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 11:59am

    Re:

    actually no, it just has to exist and in this case, suck so bad at its job as to be called completely ineffectual. This is the equivalent of having a huge yard filled with content, and then putting up a doorframe, with a door, but no walls, and the door is locked, but the key is left in the lock.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:00pm

    Re:

    It's because in Techdirt terms, they are "doing it wrong".

    They should be selling t-shirts.

     

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  12.  
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    halley (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:01pm

    Re:

    The legal definition of "effective" does not match the security researcher's definition, or even the street definition. It has nothing to do with "efficacious," but simply that the mechanism was "effected," or created for the purpose.

     

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  13.  
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    zaven (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:01pm

    Not allowing Javascript to run is not a circumvention technique. It's a security measure. Any argument otherwise wouldn't even pass the laugh test.

    There are even browsers that don't have Javascript (Lynx anyone?)

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:01pm

    Re:

    This is the point ----> X




    This is where you hit -----> X


    /end convoluted way of saying that you missed the point

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:02pm

    Re:

    I don't understand why you people are opposed to NYT wanting to make money off of its own content.


    And I don't understand why you keep kicking puppies!

    Honestly, puppies are innocent adorable creatures, and yet you keep picking them! Why do you hate puppies so?

     

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  16.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:04pm

    Re:

    There was a decision in one country (a Scandinavian one, IIRC) that said essentially that. It was w/r/t DVD encryption. Something along the lines of: since the bypass was so widely known and used, the court wasn't going to waste its time on such cases any more.

     

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  17.  
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    RikuoAmero (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:04pm

    Re:

    its not a case of grand villainy, its a case where we have one of the most popular news websites in the world, that has since its inception offered its articles for free to the end user, now suddenly wants to start charging for them, but is not offering any incentive to the reader to actually pay.
    Yes, this will be a financial failure. We are not opposed to NYT making money, we are opposed to NYT making completely idiotic moves like this. Read a few articles back here on techdirt, one of the top guys at NYT says people will pay because they feel guilty. THIS is what we are opposed to. We are opposed to complete idiocy and top level executives who spew forth complete and utter bullshit, and expect their ridiculous business plan to work.

     

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  18.  
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    David, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:04pm

    If the NYT put a header on each article that said "YOU ARE FORBIDDEN TO READ THIS UNLESS YOU HAVE PAID" and then rendered the full article anyway, your browser would be a circumvention device for rendering the whole page despite the dire warning at the top.

    Maybe the Times is trying to undo the entire DMCA by showing how incredibly st00pid it is...?

     

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  19.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Effective DRM

    Couldn't be, there's no such thing as effective DRM. They've all been hacked, cracked, and broken.

     

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  20.  
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    blaktron (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:07pm

    Re:

    What about the default security settings for Windows Server? No JavaScript allowed on the internet. That would technically make Windows Server a 'circumvention device' along with NoScript. Thats an argument I suspect no one is eager to make in court...

     

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  21.  
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    John Doe, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:08pm

    They should get their $40 million back

    They should demand their money back from whoever they paid all that money to for developing the paywall. At best all they go were No Trespassing signs. Heck, without Java Script turned on, you don't even see the signs.

     

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  22.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Opposed to NYT?

    Opposed nothin!! We feel sorry for them and so here we are talking behind their backs about what they're doing wrong.

    ;-P

     

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  23.  
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    RikuoAmero (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:09pm

    I have one question about the paywall. I heard it cost 40 million dollars to develop. Can someone explain to me how a few lines of javascript cost 40 mil? I can understand some expense, you would have to hire a competent programmer but still...

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:12pm

    Re:

    Then you get into the whole issue of what is effective. If you have javascript activated, it can be effective. If someone can hack it, mabe it was never effective. But if you use that train of thought, any site that can be hacked can be called ineffective.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:15pm

    Re:

    I don't under stand why you people don't seem to understand what the article is about. I believe that the subject is explaining what the question was. If NYT wants to put a paywall in to protect there content that is fine. The question is if because many people use standard safety procedure such as NOScript, so that malicious content won't secretly run on a computer, will that be considered a violation of DMCA since it also goes right through NYT's paywall.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Re:

    The Internet is about connections, because it's a communications platform, and when one decides to not connect to the rest of the Internet then their is an increased chance of failure in the long run.

    Unless you're the Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times but I think that has to do with money and status.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "they are doing it wrong".

    Thanks for agreeing.

     

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  28.  
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    crade (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Its not a circumvention device

    um, that it exactly what it was designed for.

     

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  29.  
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    crade (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:24pm

    Re:

    Nothing wrong with wanting to make money. Of course actually *making* money would be better than wanting to. Neither of these has to do with the article though, it's about the ridiculousness of the DMCA.

     

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  30.  
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    crade (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:26pm

    Re: Re: Its not a circumvention device

    not that it matters, I could be using a special hacker program, a generic hex editor or a properly placed french fry to circumvent, the design of the tool isn't important, as I understand it's the actual circumvention that the law looks for not the original intent of any of the tools you use to do it.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    YOU are doing it wrong. You forgot the ad-hominem attack and the piracy == theft argument.

    Give back your diploma.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:28pm

    Re:

    I thought there was a ruling relating to this issue. I remeber it having something to do with "hidden" urls and bypassing them as not being an illegal "circumvention."

    I'm fuzzy on the details though and whether it'd be applicable.

     

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  33.  
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    blaktron (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Its not a circumvention device

    So by your argument, Windows Server, one of the most profitable American products, is a circumvention device? I hardly think so.

     

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  34.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re:

    "They should be selling t-shirts." Absolutely, nothing wrong with that. Along with fairly priced content. And we point out the absurdity of charging different prices for different devices.

    they are "doing it wrong" - you think the way they are doing it is technically sound?

     

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  35.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:36pm

    Re:

    Expensive projections from analysts + giant internal committees arguing about the best way to implement. The bills rack up fast...

     

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  36.  
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    RD, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:37pm

    Even better question

    If I just "view source" of the page, or use any of the many plugins that let me, am I violating the law? If so, how? They SENT the article to me when I loaded their page, contained within the page request. How could it be illegal to then look at it?

     

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  37.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That gives me an idea for a new techdirt Tshirt...

    NOTICE
    Trolling in this area will not be reported, however it will be "graded."

     

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  38.  
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    Trails (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:38pm

    Re:

    Grand villainy?!?! I haven't seen techdirt give them that much credit.

    Everything I've read on techdirt (barring comments) essentially amounts to "This is stupid". Not evil, stupid.

     

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  39.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:38pm

    Re:

    I don't think the typical TD'er is against the NYT making money off its own content. A lot of us make at least some money off of our own content in one way or another. TD itself makes money off of its content, and no one objects at all. Most of us want musicians, authors, actors, directors, and other artists to get paid for their work.

    I dont' think most of us are even angry with the NYT. We are, I think, amused. It is kind of like seeing a banana peel lying on the sidewalk. We know someone is going to slip on it eventually. If we could pick it up we would, but we can't reach it. We can yell and holler to people to be careful, but no one is listening. Since we are pretty sure someone is going to slip on it eventually, all we can do is sit back and watch the show. Maybe we shouldn't be enjoying watch someone fall, but we know that the people who will be tripped up are likely to be arrogant stuffed shirts who are ignoring the world around them.

    The unifying theme to the TD perspective is that the Internet and digital media have changed market for many products. There are some ways to make money in the new market, but they are different. We celebrate the new economics and frequently share success stories. I think if Mike had his way, TD would be mostly about sharing the new and innovative methods people are using to share their crafts and make a good living at it.

    TD tends to go negative when we encounter stories that involve the people who refuse to adapt to the new realities and try to roll back time to an era when their old business models let them rake in lots of cash. Typically, those are gatekeepers or artists who made it big under the old system. The NYT is trying to do that. The thing that I find most amusing is that the folks promoting the paywall don't even seem to understand what made their old business model work.

     

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  40.  
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    chris (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:39pm

    Re:

    Isn't there a requirement that the DRM has to be effective before it's covered by the law that says you can't bypass it?

    according to this:
    https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Anti-circumvention

    Section 103 (17 U.S.C Sec. 1201(a)(1)) of the DMCA states:

    No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.

    but does it mean that the technological measure has to be effective? as in, does the measure have to succeed in preventing access?

    or does the measure just have to mean to have the effect of preventing access? as in, my poorly written program want meant to have the effect of preventing access, even though it fails to do so.

    i'll bet a lawyer for the NYT will insist on the latter.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Unwittingly

    He is no longer innocent though as he has thought about and we aren't either as we have read it, that is what I would point out if I were a lawyer.


    WTG mike, now we will all be charged with Criminal Contributory Infringement. :D

     

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  42.  
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    crade (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:41pm

    Re:

    You are still circumventing, no matter what you call the method you are using. If you are through a technological "protect measure" and you didn't use the intended key provided by it's maker, you circumvented it, plain and simple. You don't need to use "circumvention tools" (ie: a computer) to be circumventing.

     

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  43.  
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    Trails (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:42pm

    Re:

    It wasn't cash outlay. It's an estimation based on cash outlay, and hours spent.

    Many of those hours spent probably included conversations like:

    "This is dumb"
    "But we need money!"
    "This will not make us money"
    "But just think, we get 100 million hits an hour, if just 10 percent of those subscribe, our annual revenue will dwarf many countries' GDP!!!"
    "But that won't happen"
    "But it might!"
    "But it won't."
    "But it might!"
    "But it won't."
    "But it might!"
    "But it won't."
    "But it might!"
    "But it won't."
    "But it might!"
    "But it won't."

    etc...

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Oh please please please add a mark troll grade troll alongside report insightful funny etc

     

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  45.  
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    Qritiqal (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:43pm

    Re:

    Competent programmers cost $50-100 per hour.
    Incompetent programmers cost $40MM per project.

     

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  46.  
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    crade (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Its not a circumvention device

    It's simple. You don't have to use a circumvention device to circumvent. You can do it the McGuyver way with chewing gum and toothpicks. The circumvention itself is what is addressed by the law. What is and isn't considered a "circumvention device" is addressed completely seperately as whether or not circumvention has occured.

     

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  47.  
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    blaktron (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:44pm

    Re: Re:

    So, sir crade, if somebody puts up a wall that your system, designed by someone else for another purpose, automatically rolls through it, you are Criminally liable? God I'm glad I dont have to live by the rulings of your crazed judges....

     

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  48.  
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    Trails (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:45pm

    Re: Even better question

    If I just "view source" of the page, or use any of the many plugins that let me, am I violating the law?


    No.

     

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  49.  
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    Big Mook, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:45pm

    Re: Re:

    Hartley, is that you?

     

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  50.  
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    John Doe, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:46pm

    Re: Re:

    My favorite sports t-shirt was a shirt with the front page of the Atlanta Journal Constitution on it when the Braves went to the World Series in '91 I believe. So yea, a t-shirt could definitely work. :)

     

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  51.  
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    chris (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Its not a circumvention device

    So by your argument, Windows Server, one of the most profitable American products, is a circumvention device? I hardly think so.

    it's totally a circumvention device. and if you club someone to death with it, it becomes a murder weapon.

    where's your god now?

     

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  52.  
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    Trails (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Even better question

    If I just "view source" of the page, or use any of the many plugins that let me, am I violating the law?


    No.

     

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  53.  
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    kyle clements (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Even better question

    If I just "view source" of the page, or use any of the many plugins that let me, am I violating the law? If so, how?


    Believe it or not, someone has tried to argue that viewing a page source is illegal in the past:
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20071017/092927.shtml

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:50pm

    Not $40 million

    A friend of mine told me NYT 'bought' the Brooklyn Bridge for about that much and they're using the paywall excuse to cover it up.

     

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  55.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Re:

    In every company I've ever worked for, and every company I've known anyone who worked at, this is exactly the case.

    "But it might!" wins every time.

    BTW, anyone here hiring?

     

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  56.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Its not a circumvention device

    I can see it now:

    "Man clubbed to death by Windows Server 2003 CD. Wouldn't shut up about being a 'PC'"

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:58pm

    Re:

    that's the problem, they didn't hire a competent programmer, they hired an incompetent programmer.

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 12:59pm

    Missing the obvious here. They didn't do this to block anybody. They did it to make money. If you pay, they make money. If you don't, they don't care. They can only come out ahead. If you think about it, it was the right way to go which makes them anything but "clueless".

     

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  59.  
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    SUNWARD (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 1:00pm

    just hit ESC

    and the pop up doesn't load. But the nytclean works and is nice!

    But you could also get in through search engines, twitter, etc. So the paywall is a joke.

     

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  60.  
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    DS, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 1:04pm

    Simple Test...

    Mike.. it depends. Do you feel guilty? If so, then you are violating the DMCA.

     

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  61.  
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    Jake, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 1:05pm

    Re:

    I think that's a slight exaggeration; he's never seemed to make it out to be "grand villainy", though I dare say it's highly inconvenient for anyone who's ever cited a New York Times article in a blog entry or other opinion piece and wishes to provide a reference to the full text of their source. (I don't know much about Techdirt's behind-the-scenes setup, but I'm going to take a wild guess that Mike hasn't got any interns to edit all the now-defunct URLs in the site archives for him.)

     

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  62.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 1:09pm

    Re: Re: Unwittingly

    That should go over well:

    "I'd like to call the first co-defendant, Anonymous, to the stand."

    "Objection! That could be any Anonymous! Possibly even the one that has rendered my website unusable!"

     

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  63.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 1:10pm

    Re:

    I don't understand why you people are opposed to NYT wanting to make money off of its own content. Every website has the right to find a way to monetize its product. If it fails, it's because people decided not to buy it, not because erecting a paywall is some sort of work of grand villainy as you make it out to be.

    No one's opposed to the NYT wanting to make money. We're just pointing out that they're doing it in a way that won't work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    identicon
    brian, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 1:12pm

    Re:

    Unless, of course, they scrap the whole thing before they make back their $40 million. Then they came out behind.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No FUD mention.

    Needs improvement.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
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    jjmsan (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 1:13pm

    Re: Re:

    As a matter of fact they are selling t-shirts. http://www.nytstore.com/Front-Page-New-York-Times-T-Shirt_p_5846.html Just not very effectively since you obiviously don't know they are doing it. Perhaps if they were better at promoting it they would not need a paywall.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    icon
    letherial (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 1:16pm

    Re: Simple Test...

    If you need to wonder if your breaking DMCA, then your breaking DMCA.



    RIAA spokesman.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
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    Chris-Mouse (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 1:19pm

    Re:

    I don't understand why you people are opposed to NYT wanting to make money off of its own content. Every website has the right to find a way to monetize its product. If it fails, it's because people decided not to buy it, not because erecting a paywall is some sort of work of grand villainy as you make it out to be.

    Nobody here is objecting to the NYT trying to monetize it's content. What we are doing is pointing out just how stupidly the NYT is going about doing it.
    Expecting people to pay to read the NYT when the same stories are covered by others elsewhere for free is simply dreaming.
    A paywall with so many loopholes and exceptions that nobody has any idea when or if they will hit it is nuts.
    A paywall that's so insecure that many people will accidently bypass it is laughable.
    There are many ways to make money from content. The NYT seems to have figured them all out, and then gone and done the exact opposite.

     

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  69.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 1:19pm

    Re:

    That assumes their traffic doesn't go down and cut into their advertising revenue or stymie its growth. The fact that the paywall is easily circumvented doesn't mean some (potentially lots of) people won't just go elsewhere the moment they see it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 1:31pm

    Re: Re:

    The AC you are responding to was actually hired by a top level executive to spew forth complete and utter bullshit ... so ... I doubt he'll get your point.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re: Unwittingly

    WTG mike, now we will all be charged with Criminal Contributory Infringement. :D

    Oh crap. I need to think up another Techdirt login name in case this one gets seized to stop me from using this tool to commit any more crimes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 1:36pm

    Re: They should get their $40 million back

    Yeah ... this kinda feels like they had some giant system in the pipes but couldn't meet the deadline - so they did some cut and paste frankenstein thing in java over the weekend before launch day.

     

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  73.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 1:42pm

    What if someone disabled javascript in their browser's settings? Even Internet Explorer allows you to block javascript by default, and enable it for a list of trusted sites.

    ...I'd probably die laughing if IE7 was classified by the US government as an "illegal circumvention device". Chrome has the same thing though, so I guess Google would step in before anything big went down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 1:42pm

    Re: Re:

    http://timothyblee.com/2011/03/21/shoe-leather-reporting-at-the-new-york-times/

    [E]ven if you believe that a purely advertising-supported web won’t be able to support an adequate amount of shoe-leather reporting, voluntarily subscribing to a paywalled Times, despite the existence of high-quality, free alternatives like CNN and the BBC, seems silly. If serious news is what I want, then I should donate to an organization that focuses on producing it. About 65 cents of every dollar I give to Pro Publica will go to support serious, public-interested newsgathering. It makes no sense to instead give money to an organization that will spend less than 20 cents of every dollar on shoe-leather reporting as a means to its primary goal of making the Sulzberger family wealthier.

     

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  75.  
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    crade (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 1:51pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Well, thats how I understand it (and yes, I agree, it's a completely retarded law, but thats because the people who wrote it have no clue about how these things work). I could be wrong though, I'm certainly no lawyer. :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    identicon
    StrongStyle81, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 2:08pm

    So the NY Times spent 40 million on a paywall and it's in javascript? BWAHAHAHAHA!

    Oh man I needed a good laugh.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77.  
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    Ben (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 2:31pm

    They should have hired me to write the paywall

    I could reuse a program I once wrote for the MAFIAA:

    10 Print "Pay up chump"
    20 ?????
    30 Profit!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78.  
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    rooben (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 2:51pm

    If any lawsuit comes of this, and NoScript is classified as a circumvention device because of the way NY Times is coded....
    Then I have a new business model:
    1. Create some content & copyright it.
    2. Go look for companies that make plugins.
    3. Analyze plugins for software that disables things
    4. Build a Paywall that can be disabled by the plugin.
    5. Encrypt Content
    6. Contact the plugin developer, and let them know that their software is in violation of DCMA, because it could be used to circumvent your copyright protection. You won't sue them, if they pay you $10,000 (or $100k, or $1m, depending on the size of the company). Then you change your paywall design to use the next plugin. Repeat.
    This can be used for permanent markers as well.
    Your welcome, Internet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79.  
    identicon
    RD, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 3:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Unwittingly

    "Oh crap. I need to think up another Techdirt login name in case this one gets seized to stop me from using this tool to commit any more crimes."

    Yes you will, you dirty fscking criminal! Remember, accusation=guilt, third parties are allowed to bring criminal proceedings for relief (in the form of ICE/DOJ) to civil matters, the government's right to prosecute > (greater than) your right to constitutional protections or relief, your domain is forfeit at the whim of a judge based on ZERO evidence (and based on only the affirmed say-so of the aforementioned 3rd parties), and you are branded the child molesting pornographer that everyone knows (or will now come to believe you are) you are.

    Welcome to the 21st century even Orwell couldnt envision.

     

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  80.  
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    Atkray (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 3:23pm

    Re: Re:

    No, that is the recording industry.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  81.  
    identicon
    MichaelG, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 3:28pm

    Re:

    If that's all they got for their money, someone really took them to the cleaners. Hard to imagine.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  82.  
    identicon
    Cow Lard, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 3:31pm

    Incompetence? Really?

    Quote:
    Competent programmers cost $50-100 per hour.
    Incompetent programmers cost $40MM per project.

    __________________________________________________

    The $40 million price tag charged by the incompetent programmers, were staff contracted by devious greedy FAT RATS who love Paywall Swiss Cheese, and have a remarkable ability to spin the masses TONS of BS as well as write of $40 MM on their tax return.

    Look just because their idiots, doesn't mean they're incompetent with money. The paper money is vaporware, it doesn't exist in real terms.

    The masses have been drip fed their fix from a bunch of news peddlers who now want to charge their addicted captive market. GET OVER IT! Move on, there is a trillion other news sources out there. Anyone would think from all the commotion they had something worthy to write about. ; )

    The DRM argument doesn't stand, as its instrument of rights management is not adequately covered by what the courts definition requires of it in order for the law to be applied.

    But hey, we won't let that get in the way of a good story will we?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  83.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 3:47pm

    what?!

    $40million for a bunch of java scripts that can be disabled with 4 lines?

    I'm clearly in the wrong business. I could have done it for half and something which only took three lines to disable!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  84.  
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    Richard (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 3:49pm

    Re: Re:

    Finland

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  85.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 4:28pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Close enough :P

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  86.  
    identicon
    Thursty, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 5:12pm

    you have to make a reasonable effort

    I would imagine that it wouldn't be a copyright violation as you are not copying and redistributing or rebroadcasting the content in any way, shape or form. It would be similar to walking into the movie theater without paying, and in this particular case, it would be doing so when the theater operator failed to man the ticket booth and left the entrance unattended. At that point is entering and watching a crime? I don't think so.

    It's up to the business itself to enforce access control, and if that access control is like a screen door on the submarine, can you blame the water for rushing in?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  87.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 5:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    you silly Mexicans don't know your geography...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  88.  
    icon
    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 7:03pm

    Re: Re:

    You left out a few pieces of conversation:

    "Did you send out for the hookers?"
    "That was your job!"
    "No, it was yours!"
    "No it wasn't!"
    "Was so!"
    "Was not!"

    "And what about the cocaine and Cristal?"
    "Not my job!"
    "Was so!"
    "Was not!"

     

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  89.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 7:09pm

    When you walk down the streets of any major city or even in some major stores there are people standing there trying to shove a pamphlet at you hoping you'll take one. No Script is like shooting these pamphlet pushers so you don't need to try to walk past them.

    Next, not extending your hand to accept one of these pamphlet will be considered a "circumvention device" under the DMCA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  90.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 8:20pm

    Re:

    No, your eyes would be a circumvention device for simply reading it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  91.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 9:39pm

    Client side scripting is yours to unauthorise

    Is disabling Javascript for viewing the NYT a breach of the DMCA? or any statute either USA or International for that matter?
    NO

    Could the NYT be violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by forcing people to USE Javascript and then pay?
    Most likely

    Now before all you lovers of trolldom take umbrage with the above statements, please note that if the NYT was using such technology like PHP, Perl, Java, C+ then the above answers would very much be reversed.

    Why the reverse you ask? Because the major difference and the only relevant part to those languages and this discussion is that PHP,Perl et. al. are what are called server-side languages with Javascript being a client-side language/script. This means that the javascript RUNS and is controlled SPECIFICALLY via the readers computer under their AUTHORITY alone.

    Whereas the others are controlled by the organisations server (in this case the NYT) only and require the organisations authorisation to disable.

    If an organisation tries to without due authority make your computer do things that you never agreed to, or have ceased to agree to. Remember you have not agreed to any type of contract, and I highly doubt any contract you could agree to would withstand scrutiny ( and this includes EULA's), and can at a moments whim stop your client performing any tasks that you do not want.

     

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  92.  
    identicon
    Jose_X, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 9:41pm

    Re: Re: Unwittingly

    Reminds me of the fine terms added to some contracts so that the company "has" a hook to sue you and your descendants for trillions of dollars + court costs if you sneeze funny. .. It's a lever for them to use against you later on.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  93.  
    identicon
    Jose_X, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 10:20pm

    Re: Re: Unwittingly

    >> He is no longer innocent though as he has thought about and we aren't either as we have read it,

    My front yard has one of those thin wire mesh fences along its perimeter.

    Just inside the fence section bordering the public sidewalk I keep a table with a sign:

    "Don't lean over and look at these copyrighted paintings just in front of you on the table. A fence plus the flat position these paintings are in block off direct sight by the public. Circumventing this protective measure to engage in unauthorized viewing will result in 100,000 fine and 5 years in jail. Thank you."

     

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  94.  
    identicon
    Jose_X, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 10:41pm

    Re: Re:

    >> If you are through a technological "protect measure" and you didn't use the intended key provided by it's maker

    Do not read any other sentence of this copyrighted comment unless you buy access to it by going to this link: http://moneymakerheaven.lawyerswhosueyou.xoxo/comment-purchase-for-josex-comment-number-2-at-www.tec hdirt.com/articles/20110322/03485913583/am-i-violating-dmca-visiting-nytimes-with-noscript-enabled.s html .
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    Do you honestly think circumventing my technological protective measure, which are bypassed when you "use a technological mouse pointing device, keyboard, or similar means to 'scroll' down to read the comment protected by a full blank screen barrier," will really make my lawyers happy?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  95.  
    identicon
    Jose_X, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 10:51pm

    Re: Even better question

    >> They SENT the article to me when I loaded their page, contained within the page request. How could it be illegal to then look at it?

    There was a post-it note on the article they sent over when your computer took advantage of the service they were offering the public through their web servers.

    "Do not read this article we are sending over unless you first send us payment. For your convenience, we may have folded the page in half to make it less likely you will accidentally read the page before paying."

    Clearly it is illegal to unfold the page they handed you, if in fact it was folded, and read it without paying.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  96.  
    identicon
    Jose_X, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 10:54pm

    Re:

    >> If you pay, they make money. If you don't, they don't care.

    Mike thought they were reserving their rights to sue for DRM circumvention.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  97.  
    identicon
    Jose_X, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 11:06pm

    Re: Simple Test...

    >> Do you feel guilty?

    What if I just feel regretful?

    I feel lots of regret that I paid for their home-delivered paper all of these years while I was making lots of money rather than saving my pennies for the lawsuit that came once I dropped my subscription and regretfully visited their site with a disabled browser.

    Note, I've never subscribed to the Times, but then I don't expect to be sued by them either should I read their articles online.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  98.  
    identicon
    Jose_X, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 11:07pm

    A very high bar of inventiveness will be required

    Courts will probably draw a line somewhere on defining "circumvention", to at least require taking action that is non-obvious to an Internet user having ordinary skill in the art.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  99.  
    identicon
    Jose_X, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 11:17pm

    Re: A very high bar of inventiveness will be required

    Having a high bar of inventiveness like that has worked to deny patents oftentimes for inventions that are obvious to a person having ordinary skill in the art.

    If a person having ordinary skill in the art finds something non-obvious, then clearly we should enable long-lasting related monopoly powers to take effect.

    What does society have to lose from having inventions that are non-obvious to a person having ordinary skill in the art be monopolized for many years?

    The US economy needs a boost.

    Do you have ordinary skills in the art?

    Is there something you know about that you have found non-obvious?

    If yes, consider spending thousands of dollars to secure a patent that will allow no one else under US jurisdiction the ability to also use, create, sell, or seek to sell such an invention that a person having ordinary skill in the art, such as yourself, found non-obvious.

    This is a recipe for American success. American lawyer ingenuity at its best.

     

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  100.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 1:39am

    Re: Re:

    Wow. You paytard trolls really have gone down in quality. I don't think I've seen a remotely decent argument out of any of you in months.

    Pathetic. Troll harder.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  101.  
    icon
    vivaelamor (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 4:07am

    Re:

    "I can understand some expense, you would have to hire a competent programmer but still..."

    I imagine the problem was that all the competent programmers told them the idea was stupid.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  102.  
    icon
    Joe (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 5:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Unwittingly

    It won't matter. ICE will seize the techdirt domain any day now because of the infringement activities here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  103.  
    icon
    Joe (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 5:27am

    Re: Re: Effective DRM

    Well, it could be "effectively hacked, effectively cracked, etc.", couldn't it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  104.  
    identicon
    mark, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 5:45am

    Re:

    No of course not. If it is effective, it wouldn't need to be protected by law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  105.  
    identicon
    Michael, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 9:24am

    Re: Incompetence? Really?

    Are you seriously blaming the programmers?

    I have worked for (and do work for) several companies that make...well...decisions?...similar to the ones the NYT has made with this paywall. What I can tell you is that at some point - possibly after exhausting every avenue of trying to explain the problems - most programmers end up having to do what they are told.

    I can almost guarantee that they received their instructions something like this:

    1) Design and build a paywall
    2) Hey! This new fangled JavaScript is really cool! Use that!
    3) Oh, make sure the paywall will not prevent people from getting to it if they follow a link from their friend on Facebook.
    4) Oh yeah. That same thing as #3, except that new thing - I think it's called 'MySpace' (since I am a big executive, I should have a MySpace account, so make me one of those while you are at it).
    5) Please send me a memo explaining Twittle.
    6) Stop mocking me and send a memo explaining TWITTER
    7) Yeah, make twitter links allow content
    8) You know, people should be able to see a certain number of articles before the paywall kicks in - our writers seem to be complaining that a paywall is going to make them 'irrelevant' (whatever they mean by that, come on, they work for the NYT). We will come up with the number of articles they can read later.
    9) Is it too late to switch from JavaScript to this iPad thing? They are almost the same right?
    10) Please send me a memo explaining what HTML is.
    11) We would like a functional demo tomorrow morning. Before you create it, can you change all of the fonts and colors to a more "Autumn" look - it will look better in conjunction with the view out of the boardroom window.
    12) Why did we miss a milestone?
    ......

    need I go on?

     

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  106.  
    identicon
    Michael, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 9:32am

    Great Question

    It is a good question. Unfortunately, I think the answer is probably yes.

    We certainly do not want to have the court deciding if something is a digital lock (or a lock) based on whether or not it is effective. Moreover, we would certainly not want the courts determining what is and is not effective enough.

    A lock is a lock. Some fuzzy interpretation of what qualifies would be pretty horrifying.

    It's really amazing that anyone can defend this circumvention clause when doing something as normal as having NoScript running can be in violation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  107.  
    identicon
    Kahawe, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 10:00am

    haha

    The early 90's called, they want their "security" back...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  108.  
    identicon
    Jason, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 1:49pm

    It is javascript on purpose. We are not even trying to implement further countermeasures to prevent people getting around the wall. Because we don't care. The paywall at its heart is a marketing gimmick to retain formerly lost print subscribers. Why in the hell do you think it is cheaper to get the Sunday only paper then All digital access. You get all digital access free with Sunday paper.

    We are well aware that there is hardly anything stopping people from going around the payhole.Its quite pathetic actually. We don't actually want people to buy digital subscriptions, just print subscriptions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  109.  
    identicon
    user124, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 10:30pm

    with noscript the js code is not downloaded and not executed so there is no circumvention of that security measure.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  110.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2011 @ 3:30am

    What is if you browse with a browser not capable of JavaScript (or just have it deactivated browser-side, i.e. not by an "external" plugin)? Are you doing illegally by not using the modern, fancy stuff?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  111.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2011 @ 3:30am

    What is if you browse with a browser not capable of JavaScript (or just have it deactivated browser-side, i.e. not by an "external" plugin)? Are you doing illegally by not using the modern, fancy stuff?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  112.  
    identicon
    Ryan, Mar 24th, 2011 @ 12:14pm

    Posting property

    In my state (a very rural one) it is legal to walk on another persons land as long as they don't have it posted with no trespassing signs. You can't just post one sign near your house either, they have to be posted at regular intervals along the border of your property.

    It seems like the NYT paywall is analogous to posting a single no trespassing sign on your mailbox and then expecting some stranger walking along the road to know about it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  113.  
    identicon
    thaJack, Apr 10th, 2011 @ 4:37pm

    Browser

    Would using a browser that doesn't support JavaScript also be a violation?

    If so, the law now requires that we use a browser that supports JavaScript?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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