NYTimes Asks Twitter For disable PayWall Jumping Feed

by Avinash Saxena

Think you’re pretty smart, figuring out a way to get around that 20-article limit The New York Times will begin imposing in the U.S. next Monday (3/28)? Not so fast.

In the new paywall scheme, if you get to a Times article by following a link, it doesn’t count against the 20 articles you can read for free before you have to pay a monthly subscription fee. That’s whereTwitter feed @FreeNYTimes could come in handy, linking to every single New York Times article so people can use Twitter as a free jumping-off spot.

But the Gray Lady is having none of that. Today it asked Twitter to disable @FreeNYTimes because “it is a violation of our trademark,” according to a spokesperson for the Times. A Forbes reporter asked her about other ways to get around the paywall. For example, a simple browser app called NYTClean gives you admittance to any article with a single click. The Times said that’s to be expected. They will continue to monitor the situation and plan no changes, the spokesperson said.

Is it a trademark violation? Well, if you take a look at @FreeNYTimes (pictured above), you’ll notice that distinctive Gothic “T” of The New York Times prominently displayed. Perhaps that’s where the trademark violation takes place. Then there’s the term “NYTimes,” identical to the newspaper’s URL. Looks like the Times might have a point in this case, but what if someone starts up another Twitter feed — “@FreeNYSlimes”, say — that links to all the Times’ articles?

Here’s another idea: Make the price of admission cheaper, and maybe people will be willing to pay. The Times’ price of $35 per month to access the site on a computer, smartphone and iPad (or $15/month, computer-only) is likely to fan the flames of freeloaders. Why? Because $35 is roughly twice the monthly cost of the digital version of the Wall Street Journal, and almost four times that of The Economist, according to Silicon Alley Insider.

 

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