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Interview: The person who destroyed the NY Times paywall using Twitter

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Internet

NYTFree New York Times freeWhen the New York Times announced its plans for an online subscription model, or "paywall," critics picked it apart almost instantly. It was readily apparent that there were many ways around it. For example, the publication offers free access to stories posted on social-media sites. Very quickly someone set up @FreeNYT, a Twitter feed that aggregates every Times Twitter posting, effectively giving away all the articles for free. The Times has asked Twitter to suspend the account.

The person behind @FreeNYT, who prefers to remain anonymous, agreed to talk to PCMag.

Do you think the Times will be able to shut you down?
@FreeNYT: I don't believe the Times will be able to shut me down, as it's a rather laughable claim that by simply aggregating their own Twitter feeds into a list I've engaged in trademark violation. I assume the folks at Twitter told them as much—if they were even contacted by the Times.

What do you think will happen if Twitter suspends your account?
@FreeNYT: As I showed with the creation of @tyneerf/fearthefuzzy, even if they shut @freenyt down, others will just pop up in my place. The only way to stop this is for the Times to either change its policy about referrals from social-media sites being free or stop tweeting out all its own content. I'm guessing they'll do neither, at least for now.

[The aforementioned list is a compilation of all the different Times twitter feeds, like @NYTimesDining, @NYTimesFashion, and others where the publication posts its articles. The name of the handle is @FreeNYT spelled backwards].

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