Journalism

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
ip, paywalls, threats, voluntary



Local News Website Says You Need To Pay To Read Its Stories, Says It's Collecting Visitor IPs To Sue

from the that'll-go-over-well dept

Well, here's a fun one. Apparently, there's a local news site known as The North Country Gazette (don't click that just yet...) covering parts of upstate New York via a blog format. Rather than putting in place an actual technical paywall, the site has apparently decided to go with a paywall-by-threat model. If you visit a story on the site, it tells you that you're only allowed to view one page for free, and then they expect you to pay up:
Gotta love that Comic Sans font -- in red, no less. Anyway, if you do "abuse the privilege," apparently you come up against the following (which now appears to have been taken down, perhaps due to all of the attention):
In case you can't see/read the image, it reads:
A subscription is required at North Country Gazette. We allow only one free read per visitor. We are currently gathering IPs and computer info on persistent intruders who refuse to buy subscription and are engaging in a theft of services. We have engaged an attorney who will be doing a bulk subpoena demand on each ISP involved, particularly Verizon Droids, Frontier and Road Runner, and will then pursue individual legal actions.
Where to start? First, I love how "Verizon Droid" (a phone) is included in the list of ISPs. But, more to the point, this site seems to believe that if it just says you can only visit once without paying, and you don't, it has the right to then use your IP to sue you for "theft of services." I'd love to see how well that plays out in court.

Reader Comments

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  1. identicon
    John Frank, 28 Oct 2010 @ 12:26am

    Re: Re:

    "they intended to firewall their private html servers from the Internet but couldn't afford it"

    erm... I'm going to guess you have no idea how this Internet thing works.

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