George Brock subverts The Times paywall by 'stealing' his own article
An interesting blog post from George Brock today, who has republished in full an article of his that had been placed behind The Times paywall. Brock says:
"Let's be clear why I doing this test. I'm not against charging for editorial content, just as I'm not against paying cash for a printed paper. Copywright belongs to the paper since the review was commissioned and submitted normally."
He goes on to argue that:
"A newspaper website is simultaneously a rolling news site and a huge data mountain, an encyclopaedia of current affairs, frequently updated. While a newspaper has a legal right to restrict access to all of that material as one whole bundle, this can't be the best way to go in the future. If charging is going to be part of the survival of quality journalism, something more flexible and agile is required. Digital technology allows journalism which was packaged together in print to be 'unbundled'."
His answer is to voluntarily 'unbundle' his own piece, a review of Clay Shirky's "Cognitive Surplus" book. One wonders what that will do to his chances of future commissions form the paper.
This is a stark contrast to how we are operating at The Guardian. If Brock had written the review and it had appeared on guardian.co.uk, he would have been able to republish it on his blog using the Open Platform API, similar to the way that Baby Barista does.
He'd have been able to reproduce it with a clear conscience about copyright, and the advertising & tracking code that the article carried would allow The Guardian to benefit from the republishing.
There is more than one model of getting people to pay for digital journalism online than the one-size-fits-all "extreme paywall" that Brock is trying to subvert.