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Old 03-23-2011, 03:29 PM   #16
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I think, really, it was done because it was easy, not because it was a challenge.

Also, the NYT is the paper of record so it will get you your 15 minutes for sure.
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Old 03-23-2011, 03:30 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoyt Clagwell View Post
It is totally different from removing DRM. For most people you are removing DRM on a product you have already paid for. This hack just allows people to steal content. I do not even see how one could argue that its ethical.
Is it considered stealing when the people have all the content on their systems, given freely by the times? To best describe it, the paper gave the canadian readers something covered in wrapping paper, and said they could only have what was inside if they gave them money. Seeing as how they, the readers, already had it in their possession, the Times was no longer in a position to stipulate how it could be used. No laws were broken either, since there was no encryption to be broken.

And yes, hitting "View source" would also have gotten you the info.

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And, of course, the hole will soon be plugged.
The way it was done, there is no way to plug the hole. They'll have to come up with a completely different method.

Last edited by Hellmark; 03-23-2011 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 03-23-2011, 03:45 PM   #18
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so, view --> page source gets you around it anyway?
Yes. The "hack" is a case of bypassing the overlay to see the content that's already there.

There's another easy workaround: links referred from Twitter are exempt from the paywall. NYTimes is trying to shut down the Twitter account set to link to all NYT posts as "violating trademark." Which is a fascinating approach, and means that there'll be plenty of other Twitter accounts doing the same thing, just without NYTimes in the name.

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I haven't figured out how to trigger the paywall to find this for myself.
The paywall's not live in the US yet, only in Canada, if that matters. It launches globally on Mar 28th.
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Old 03-23-2011, 03:58 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoyt Clagwell View Post
It is totally different from removing DRM. For most people you are removing DRM on a product you have already paid for. This hack just allows people to steal content. I do not even see how one could argue that its ethical.
Removing DRM is actually, well, doing something. From what I'm hearing, you can use perfectly standard browser functionality (View Page Source) to access the content without paying. Whoever set this up (and I hope they only set it up as a temporary feature) didn't seem to realize this, or didn't care. One hopes that someone who can code javascript and css would know about browser View Page Source functionality.
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Old 03-23-2011, 04:43 PM   #20
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It seems to me that they almost put less thought into implementing this than the cracker did into breaking it. The way that the paywall works, it sounds like something like Readability would be just as good at "cracking" it.
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Old 03-23-2011, 04:51 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Hoyt Clagwell View Post
This hack just allows people to steal content.
How do you "steal" content that the owner is publicly distributing? Are people who access the content via google/etc, which also bypasses the paywall, "stealing" as well?

BTW, this "hack" can also be done by just turning off javascript support in your browser, which many people do for security reasons anyway.

If someone puts up a toll booth on only one lane of a multi-lane highway, it's not "stealing" when the drivers change lanes. It just means that whoever decided to implement the toll booth that way wasn't very bright.
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Old 03-23-2011, 04:52 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Shaggy View Post

If someone puts up a toll booth on only one lane of a multi-lane highway, it's not "stealing" when the drivers change lanes. It just means that whoever decided to implement the toll booth that way wasn't very bright.
But honest people will, in fact, use the right lane.
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Old 03-23-2011, 04:54 PM   #23
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BTW, this "hack" can also be done by just turning off javascript support in your browser, which many people do for security reasons anyway.
I thought of this, too, but I assumed (admittedly, without a great deal of evidence) that whoever put the paywall up was at least smart enough to prevent the stories from displaying if Javascript was turned off.
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Old 03-23-2011, 04:56 PM   #24
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But honest people will, in fact, use the right lane.
But here's the point: There's nothing dishonest about using the other lane. If the other lane's right there, and there's nothing preventing you from using it. It's no different than if I have a "suggested donation" to enter an event, and people choose not to donate.
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:00 PM   #25
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But here's the point: There's nothing dishonest about using the other lane. If the other lane's right there, and there's nothing preventing you from using it. It's no different than if I have a "suggested donation" to enter an event, and people choose not to donate.
Sure. And some software is sold without copy protection, but with just a written license saying "limited to one user", that no one ever reads. Like OSX Leopard, which they sold the identical package as both a family pack and a single user pack, even though everyone knew they were the same, and there was no copy protection or licensing issues.

We bought the family pack. But, that's just us.
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:16 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaggy View Post
How do you "steal" content that the owner is publicly distributing? Are people who access the content via google/etc, which also bypasses the paywall, "stealing" as well?

BTW, this "hack" can also be done by just turning off javascript support in your browser, which many people do for security reasons anyway.

If someone puts up a toll booth on only one lane of a multi-lane highway, it's not "stealing" when the drivers change lanes. It just means that whoever decided to implement the toll booth that way wasn't very bright.

I based my comment on my belief that some one would have to enter a 4 line script to get it to work. Something as trivial turning off java script or viewing page source is a different matter all together.
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:18 PM   #27
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Sure. And some software is sold without copy protection, but with just a written license saying "limited to one user", that no one ever reads. Like OSX Leopard, which they sold the identical package as both a family pack and a single user pack, even though everyone knew they were the same, and there was no copy protection or licensing issues.

We bought the family pack. But, that's just us.
The difference is that Apple didn't give you OSX without asking for money first. The NY Times distributes the content to the user and then attempts to obscure it. It's a silly way of doing things, at best. It's not a serious attempt at a paywall. Handing someone something, and then expecting them to pay for it is a bad business plan. The proper order of operations is:

1) Accept Payment
2) Grant Access

If you don't even bother to lock up the content, and just hand it over, you can't blame people for accessing it.

The problem is, the effort they would've had to put into a serious paywall here is trivial. It's the equivalent of taping the key to your house on the outside wall, right under the security code to turn off your alarm system, with a note that said, "Go ahead. Have at it."
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:25 PM   #28
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The difference is that Apple didn't give you OSX without asking for money first. The NY Times distributes the content to the user and then attempts to obscure it. It's a silly way of doing things, at best. It's not a serious attempt at a paywall. Handing someone something, and then expecting them to pay for it is a bad business plan. The proper order of operations is:

1) Accept Payment
2) Grant Access

If you don't even bother to lock up the content, and just hand it over, you can't blame people for accessing it.

The problem is, the effort they would've had to put into a serious paywall here is trivial. It's the equivalent of taping the key to your house on the outside wall, right under the security code to turn off your alarm system, with a note that said, "Go ahead. Have at it."
My point is, and this is not just Apple, that some companies balance out convenience and trusting their users to do the right thing.

I know everyone here is smirking at their supposedly lame attempts, but I have a feeling they know what they are doing-trying to balance accessibility with some way of pushing their subscription service, and relying on the belief that those who value their services won't try to bypass their obviously easy to jump over gate.
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:50 PM   #29
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This article also thinks that NY Times knows what they are doing.

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And yet this workaround is so blindingly obvious to anyone who’s ever worked with code that it’s difficult to imagine it didn’t come up in the paywall planning process. The other major news paywalls — WSJ, FT, The Economist — don’t actually send the entire forbidden article to your browser, then try cover it up with a couple lines of easily reversible code. They just hit you with a message saying, in effect, “Sorry, pay up here” whenever you stray past the free zone.

And that leakiness is actually a defensible choice, I think, on the Times’ part. Imagine a Venn diagram with two circles. One represents all the people on the Internet who might be convinced to pay for nytimes.com. The other represents all the people on the Internet who (a) know how to install a bookmarklet or (b) have read a Cory Doctorow novel. Do you really see a big overlap between the two? If someone is absolutely certain to never pay for the NYT, then it makes sense to squeeze a little extra advertising revenue out of them on the rare occasions when a link sends them to nytimes.com.
http://www.niemanlab.org/2011/03/tha...mbling-down-2/
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:51 PM   #30
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This article also thinks that NY Times knows what they are doing.

Imagine a Venn diagram with two circles. One represents all the people on the Internet who might be convinced to pay for nytimes.com. The other represents all the people on the Internet who (a) know how to install a bookmarklet or (b) have read a Cory Doctorow novel. Do you really see a big overlap between the two?
Never argue with a Venn diagram
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