20 June, 2010


The paywall descends

I check out the UAF's Lancaster Unity blog routinely as it's quite an effective news aggregation site. The Antifash work hard to trawl the web for news items which they perceive as discrediting their enemies, be they BNP, EDL, 90-year-old suspected former KZ guards or anyone else who has incurred their highly focused righteous ire.

But I rather suspect something's going to have to change. Heretofore the practice has been to repost the entire newspaper article. Following the meticulously provided link to the original source usually adds no further text, although I often follow the links anyway in case there's a reader comment thread at the originating newspaper. It's entertaining to see how miuch the common folk of the shires almost invariably vehemently disagree with Ketlan and Denise's take on things. Not that the dynamic duo are likely to be bothered — they will simply discount all unsympathetic opinion as the work of the indefatigable team of sockpuppets "everybody" knows to work out of Griffin's Führerbunker deep under Welshpool.

Reposting entire articles like this is a bit naughty but in the case of free newspaper sites is generally likely to be tolerated. It can be argued either way: on the one hand, the aggregating site is ripping off the newspaper's data; on the other hand the reposted piece might drive additional potentially ad-clicking traffic to the newspaper site.

But this latest post is another matter. Follow the link and you run slap bang into the Times's shiny new paywall. It may well be that the reposter, John P on this occasion rather than the more usual Antifascist (Ketlan Ossowski), has simply been caught out by the transition from free site to paywall — the Times piece may have been freely available when he originally linked to it. But if he's deliberately copying stuff from behind the paywall and reposting it I think he may be in for a spot of bother. You may think property is theft, chaps, but I don't think Mr Murdoch's lawyers will concur.

Not that I intend to pay Murdoch's shilling myself in order to access the original. I stopped buying paid-for MSM newspapers last March. They are all irredeemably sensationalist and agenda-ridden. To get an approximation to the truth behind any vaguely controversial report it is necessary to read several reports from papers of differing political biases and triangulate them. I don't see why I should pay for propaganda. The electronic equivalent of staggering out of the paper shop under a pile of newspapers watched by a bemused but beaming newsagent does not appeal any more than its physical predecessor.

I shall watch developments with interest.

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