Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

The New York Times
Times to End Charges on Web Site

The New York Times will stop charging for access to parts of its Web site, effective at midnight Tuesday night, reflecting a growing view in the industry that subscription fees cannot outweigh the potential ad revenue from increased traffic on a free site.



About time... even Salon has made clicking past their Flash ads easier, and they were one of the first major sites to switch to a pay format.

Dear Joi:

The change in the NYT business model does not change the fact that they are still using material from freelancers that they have not paid for. That case has still not been decided. It does not matter where they get the revenue. Directly from subscribers or indirectly from advertisers, under law, if they didn't license those electronic rights originally, then the money belongs to the original creators, not the NYT Company.
This is called "vicarious liability". i.e., the owner of a dancehall who benefits from unlicensed music played by the band hired to attract customers is liable for royalties on the music.