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Artist pays you to read the news hidden behind online paywalls

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
December 23, 2014
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Don't like that many of the big, traditional news outlets hide the online editions of their stories behind paywalls? Neither does artist Paolo Cirio, who designed Daily Paywall as a protest against what he sees as an attempt to limit your access to information. The website uses scripting to automatically scoop up articles from The Economist, Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal, making the stories available to anyone who visits. Moreover, Cirio has set up a crowdfunded money pool that pays you to read -- answer a quiz about the story you just finished and you'll get a dollar.

If it sounds like piracy, that's because it is, strictly speaking. Cirio pays for the necessary subscriptions, but you very clearly aren't. And while he encourages authors to claim payment, it's doubtful that their employers will be all that understanding. Daily Paywall's creator feels justified in his actions, though. As he explains to Motherboard, he'll "proudly break barriers" if it means making information free. The project is meant to raise questions about the wisdom of charging for content online -- does it really make sense to hide potentially useful knowledge behind a subscription, especially when ad-based sites make their articles available for free? That rationale may not hold up if publishers ever take action, but there's no doubt that the project will get people talking.

[Image credit: Paolo Cirio]

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