Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts News Idle

Pay Or Else, News Site Threatens 549

Posted by samzenpus
from the good-luck-with-that dept.
WED Fan writes "The North Country Gazette, a news blog, says users who read beyond a single page of an article must pay up or they will be tracked down. They don't have a pay wall. If you go beyond page 1, you owe them. From the article: 'A subscription is required at North Country Gazette. We allow only one free read per visitor. We are currently gathering IPs and computer info on persistent intruders who refuse to buy subscription and are engaging in a theft of services. We have engaged an attorney who will be doing a bulk subpoena demand on each ISP involved, particularly Verizon Droids, Frontier and Road Runner, and will then pursue individual legal actions.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Pay Or Else, News Site Threatens

Comments Filter:
  • Clueless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shadowbearer (554144) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @06:49PM (#34043750) Homepage Journal

      Somehow I doubt they have the money to prosecute all the slashdotters who will soon be hitting their pages. Just the slashdot effect alone will likely bankrupt them.

      Id10ts.

    SB

    • Re:Clueless (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @06:52PM (#34043790)

      The newpaper's site (http://www.northcountrygazette.org/) is now throwing up a 403 error. Fastest slashdotting ever?

      • Re:Clueless (Score:5, Funny)

        by skuzzlebutt (177224) <jdb AT jeremydbrooks DOT com> on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @07:11PM (#34044070) Homepage

        Oh, Slashdot...didn't you sillies read their "do not 403 this website" warning?

        SUED!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by spisska (796395)

        It's working at the moment, but every headline is follwed by:

        "This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:"

        The really wonderful thing is that each 'post-protected' message also has buttons to share the link via email/facebook/digg, etc. Fantastic.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by arth1 (260657)

        Oh, I can get to it, but...

        Checking http://www.northcountrygazette.org/sitemap.html [northcountrygazette.org] "Today's Articles" appear to be from April 2007.

        So, where's the, you know, news?

      • Seems to be working now. But I'm having a hard time with understanding the issue. Can someone please put it in a car analogy?
        • Re:Car analogy? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Cylix (55374) * on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @09:42PM (#34045242) Homepage Journal

          I have a bus that has no fees and the doors are open.

          Passengers can get on and off the bus at various points around the city. There is a sign somewhere that probably says you should pay X dollars, but there is no enforcement of the payment policy. Passengers are free to go as they please without any constraint. Now, this bus is not the only service in town and there are quite literally thousands of different mass transit providers in the city. In fact, the streets get jammed up quite a bit because they are much like tubes. (Tubes have a limited number of units which may pass through them.)

          Now, this might make sense to pay if all buses were paid ventures, but in this city of mass mass transit the common expectation is there are no fees. The fact is most of the these transit providers want you to get on their bus so they can beam advertising into your eyeballs. Some say those who use special sun glasses to block those specific rays of light are cheating the system, but that is really a question of ethics and not legality.

          The fact is that some of us use special sunglasses to keep the harmful rays out of our eyes. The world is not a safe place with kids using laser pointers like madmen. The law enforcement agencies ignore these kids with their obviously dangerous light emitting devices and as such it's a virtual apocalyptic society.

          As I was saying, the shades are important and they look cool.

    • Re:Clueless (Score:5, Funny)

      by Apothem (1921856) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @06:52PM (#34043798)
      Uh oh, I guess I shouldn't have hit refresh 50 times!
      • Re:Clueless (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Fluffeh (1273756) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @07:09PM (#34044042)
        Actually, in my non-lawyer understanding of the law, it seems that they are offering a contract on the page, which is fine, but that doesn't mean that people have to agree to it. Correct me if I am wrong, but don't both parties have to agree to a contract to make it binding? So, if you don't agree to the contract, you can keep browsing as it is online for everyone to access, or does it mean that you aren't allowed to keep viewing the site unless you agree to abide by the terms they place on the website (purely from a law point of view)?
        • Re:Clueless (Score:5, Informative)

          by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @07:26PM (#34044222) Journal

          I'm sure this will all end well.
          Or bankruptcy.
          Probably theirs.

          Oh and yes I believe you are correct - a contract is not binding if it has no been signed, or dollars changed hands (like when you buy Windows Seven NT 6.1).

        • Re:Clueless (Score:5, Informative)

          by Man Eating Duck (534479) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @08:02PM (#34044592)

          So, if you don't agree to the contract, you can keep browsing as it is online for everyone to access, or does it mean that you aren't allowed to keep viewing the site unless you agree to abide by the terms they place on the website (purely from a law point of view)?

          Unfortunately I get only 403 errors. I'd love for them to get my ip address and come after me. Norwegian courts wouldn't be amused with people suing a user for accessing freely available web pages, a court-ordered fine might very well be in order.

          I believe that "North Country Gazette" has been misguided in this case by some consultant who is not worth his salt, but I'll say this anyway: If you publish your material freely accessible on a website listening on www:80, don't expect to successfully prosecute anyone accessing it.

          As for the "contract": If I made a web page saying "Anyone who views this web page legally owes me 100 USD" I think it would be difficult to enforce it in a court of law.

        • Re:Clueless (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TheEyes (1686556) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @08:17PM (#34044730)

          They're just taking the new rulings that EULAs are enforceable [wikipedia.org] to their logical conclusion: that the creator of a contract can essentially "force" the other side to sign a contract by doing something other than actually signing a contract. They will proceed to do what the new copyright trolls have been doing for the past few months: sue hundreds of thousands of people in a single court on the other side of the country, and mail extortion letters to all of them.

          The step after this is for someone to create a page stating, "By reading this, you agree to pay me $100,000," track the IPs, and cut out the symbolic gesture of even trying to make this seem like something other than a court-supported extortion racket.

          • Re:Clueless (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Mistlefoot (636417) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @09:18PM (#34045120)
            No, someone needs to change their browsers user agent string to a EULA.....

            Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:2.0b4) Gecko/20100818 Firefox/4.0b4

            to

            Mozilla/5.0 (EULA; By allowing me to browse your website you agree to allow me to browse your website for free)

            It works just fine.

            If they allow you to browse then they are agreeing to your license agreement AS MUCH AS you are agreeing to theirs.

            Heck, just for fun, add a charge for your viewing the ads on their webpage and bill them.
        • Re:Clueless (Score:5, Insightful)

          by palegray.net (1195047) <philip.paradis@NoSpAm.palegray.net> on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @08:53PM (#34044974) Homepage Journal
          I've defined a contract in my user agent string, which is bound to wind up in their logs. It stipulates that every time I successfully load a page (HTTP 200) from their site, they owe me $100 USD. Should they decide to refuse payment, I have no reservations about issuing subpoenas for testimony from those who have administrative access to the logs and collecting what is rightfully mine. Let's hope for their sake that they're retaining their logs; I'd hate to have to have them brought up on charges of destroying evidence.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by im_thatoneguy (819432)

          We bitch and whine about DRM because "it'll just be broken". So what does someone do? Just ask you not to steal it if you aren't a customer. So then we laugh at their naivety that someone wouldn't just steal it if it's not locked down with DRM.

          Oh silly fickle Slashdot.

          What do you say we reward someone who doesn't burden actual customers with troublesome and self defeating DRM instead of mocking them?

          • Re:Clueless (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Fluffeh (1273756) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @09:05PM (#34045048)

            What do you say we reward someone who doesn't burden actual customers with troublesome and self defeating DRM instead of mocking them?

            This wouldn't be a story if the site had a "Hey, we are struggling financially, and would appreciate if you got a subscription if you plan to read a bunch of articles."

            But it doesn't. It goes from zero to a hundred in one step. "Read on and we are going to sue you!". That's why this is a story, and that is why they are being mocked.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by bemymonkey (1244086)

        Hmmm, Tab Mix Plus has a fun "Reload every x seconds" option... maybe I should just leave that on for a day or two, set to reload the North Country Gazette every second. Who's with me? :p

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      there was some dirt on my screen so I read "I doubt they have the mopey to prosecute..." and I never saw that before, but I thought "cool word, I doubt they have the mopey too"

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by WED Fan (911325)
      Is this like you go into the grocery store and eat a few twinkies and the manager bum rushes you and makes you pay? Or, is this like picking up a discarded paper on the ferry and the guy at the news stand demanding you pay him for it?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by funkatron (912521)

        Or, is this like picking up a discarded paper on the ferry and the guy at the news stand demanding you pay him for it?

        Don't you yank peoples have an equivalent of the metro [metro.co.uk]? A paper that knows what it's worth?

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by pyite (140350)

          Don't you yank peoples have an equivalent of the metro? A paper that knows what it's worth?

          Yes, it's called (wait for it) Metro [metro.us].

      • what if restaurants tryed to sue for refills (after that fact and don't do any thing to stop you) and they point to a small and out the way sign saying NO FREE refills.
        what if they tried to press theft of services on you for taking a refill like that?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Firethorn (177587)

        I'd say it's more like going into a public bathroom and getting a bill when you leave.

        Without a paywall, without something to record that you read and understand their conditions(that you have to pay), they can't charge for serving a webpage.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by QuantumBeep (748940)

        Is this like you go into the grocery store and eat a few twinkies and the manager bum rushes you and makes you gay?

        Only in your dreams, mate.

    • Who needs 4Chan and their DDOS, slashdot is good enough!
    • Re:Clueless (Score:5, Funny)

      by couchslug (175151) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @07:08PM (#34044020)

      "Just the slashdot effect alone will likely bankrupt them."

      That's horrid! Time to alert 4chan to help save them!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Captain Spam (66120)

      What I'd like to know is, what is this "Verizon Droids" ISP that they plan to subpeona? I mean, Slashdot readers tend to keep pretty up-to-date on the ISP world, especially with Verizon, and I wasn't aware they were using their license to the term "Droid" to start another ISP. Is this anything like their FiOS service?

    • Re:Clueless (Score:4, Funny)

      by S.O.B. (136083) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @07:14PM (#34044100)

      I just read 2 articles. I invite them to hire a Canadian lawyer to come after me.

    • Re:Clueless (Score:5, Informative)

      by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @07:35PM (#34044322) Journal

      Actually, it looks like this is just a crazy old lady with a blog. Here's what Encyclopedia Dramatica [encycloped...matica.com] says:

      June Maxam (b. 1948) is a troll in the classical sense that she's a miserable old hag who lives under a bridge. As co-publisher of the failed Empire Journal, publisher of the failed "Twisted Web" book, publisher of the failed free community newspaper (est. 1981), and now the always failing pay-per-click infested blog North Country Gazette, her expertise in Internet Lawl as resulted in her issuing several baseless cease and desist orders to anyone who dares give her blog free publicity, claiming her site is exempt from all Fair Use laws.

      Maxam swipes news from legitimate sources, rewords them, posts them on her blog, and claims each as her own. She expects people to pay to visit her blog, recently stating that she will sue non-paying website visitors who read more than one post.

      Maxam previously filed a string of failed state and federal lawsuits, and was labeled a "frequent filer" by a Warren County court employee.

      Maxam resides in Chesterbrook, New York, has no friends, is hated and despised by her neighbors, and is known locally as the "Queen Of Foster Flats Road." Maxam feels the need to surround her home in the tiny village with "No Trespassing" signs.

      A Warren County New York law enforcement officer described Maxam to Bad Cop News:

      "Look, that woman says a lot of things, yeah she's a real talker, but it comes down to a lonely old lady with something screwy upstairs sitting in front of a computer, with few friends, making enemies."
       

      The real shocker here is that Encylcopedia Dramatica actually has useful content.

  • by PIPBoy3000 (619296) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @06:51PM (#34043770)
    Seems like a perfect solution to declining readership - sue them until they pay.
  • by Eightbitgnosis (1571875) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @06:51PM (#34043780) Homepage
    Seems like a lot of automated systems are racking up infractions
  • by Hatta (162192)

    It's password protected now. That was going to be fun. :/

  • The North Country Gazette [northcountrygazette.org]. It's an interesting model. I wonder how it will work. We should all visit this and see.

  • not a contract. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @06:53PM (#34043814)

    unless you have voluntarily agreed to the terms this is non binding. there is no mutual agreement to any payment and your actions of viewing a random page do not construe such a contract or agreement. furthermore the person agreeing to any contract terms on dhcp cannot be proven to be the same person who clicked in a week later. clueless asshats.

  • 403 Forbidden Forbidden

    You don't have permission to access / on this server.

    Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

    Apache/2.0.63 (Unix) mod_ssl/2.0.63 OpenSSL/0.9.8e-fips-rhel5 FrontPage/5.0.2.2635 mod_bwlimited/1.4 mod_auth_passthrough/2.1 Server at www.northcountrygazette.org Port 80

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by matazar (1104563)

      Yeah, I didn't even get a chance to look at it.
      I'll set my computers to refresh the page every couple of minutes until it comes back.....

    • by Teun (17872)
      That's what I got at first attempt.

      But in a different browser it slowly opened up but the articles are dead slow opening up.

      I was surprised to find a lot of the local news articles are password protected, in my world that does make a strange combination with what the Techdirt article is about.

      I noticed the warning in red at the bottom at a 'free' article but don't see the 'ad at the right'.

      What I did notice is a google ad at the top of the page and by the subject I figure google knows I'm able to read D

  • by The Breeze (140484) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @06:53PM (#34043822) Homepage

    0 Comments when I hit reply, and the site is already down.

    Why do I suspect that somewhere in "upstate New York" there's a DSL modem sitting on a static IP that just got reduced to a molten pile of slag?

    • Even more impressive since the site in question wasn't even directly targeted; ./ linked to a story ABOUT the site in question. So two clicks (the second one requiring at least two seconds of scanning to find) were necessary.

      •   Didn't even have large files that were directly linked to. Lame.

          Good bet that their website admin is looking for a new job before the evening is over, poor bastard. (Not likely that the people actually responsible for this idiocy will be sacked, unfortunately)

        SB

    • by El Torico (732160)

      MWUHAHAHAHAHAHA!

      I had to add the evil laugh; after all, it's almost Halloween.

    •   Zero comments when I posted*, and when I tried to access the site about ten seconds after that, it was already down ;-)

        I think we can all see how this is going to play out...

        * My first First Post. Yippy doo dah.

      SB

  • by flogger (524072) <non@nonegiven> on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @06:54PM (#34043824) Journal
    I'm going to go to the local StarBucks and register in their name and address and read/download about 100,000 pages. I hope they send starbucks a nice fat bill... Never did like them.
  • after all, a user/browser is simply requesting the info - the site (which is under their control) is then giving it to them. There's no copying here, except what they implicitly permit by their own actions.
    • by mattdm (1931)

      after all, a user/browser is simply requesting the info - the site (which is under their control) is then giving it to them. There's no copying here, except what they implicitly permit by their own actions.

      Good point. They need to read up a little bit on http return code 402 [w3.org].

  • I wouldn't give them the steam off my shit.
  • [un]fortunately, i was only able to actually view one page, as when i went to click on a second link i received a "Database Error".

    the most interesting thing was that more recent articles have a password. that makes me wonder:

    is there only one password? is it: ' and 1 = 1 ---?

    do users "share" passwords?

    what happens when someone clicks the "share" link? does having multiple people visit from your "share" cause additional copyright infringement?

  • Tell your army of pwned Windows machines to hit that server and read to page two: irritating blog vs. a couple hundred thousand clueless computer owners in court should be not only comedy gold but also a good lesson to everyone involved.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Reading the news now, using Google's cached pages. I'm sure they can foot my bill for me.
  • You have got to be kidding me! At what point would this hold up, ever? I beg to wonder what stakeholder douche with a slight pinch of technological know-how came up with this toilet spin idea. Besides the fact of droning on about how stupid of an idea that is, for anyone who has actually spent time cross-referencing IP address to physical users and are NOT an ISP, it's exhaustive, expensive, mildly time consuming and with all the other entities involved, you better have a damn good reason other than a fl

    • by Dunbal (464142) *

      Wait until they find out about my proof-reading fee. I charge $1000 per article, but the first one is free. I will be sending them my bill once the site is back up...

      Dumbest business model ever.

  • Does that include the Database Error Page I'm getting constantly? Cuz I've seen that a dozen times

  • Heaven forbid someone should happen to walk by a newspaper stand, or pick one up at a coffee shop somewhere.
  • Maybe one could reply to their request for money stating that you charge $1,000 per minute of your time when it comes to responding to legal inquiries and that they now owe you $10,000 for services rendered (i.e. you reading and responding to their request).
  • Too bad the site is down right now.
  • It has already been changed. Suddenly, all news articles there now say "This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:"
  • by selven (1556643) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @07:07PM (#34044004)

    All the new articles seem to be password protected. Furthermore, I do not see a "purchase access" link anywhere on the front page. With that kind of usability, I'm sure tens of people will subscribe to them!

  • How Much? (Score:5, Funny)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @07:08PM (#34044006) Journal

    How much does a page that reads "Error establishing a database connection" cost? I mean, I think local news is good, but if that's your only headline...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by esme (17526)

      Wow, I didn't even get that far. I only got as far as the "Unable to connect. Firefox can't establish a connection to the server at www.northcountrygazette.org." So I bet I only owe them half as much.

  • Seems perfectly legitimate to me. In fact, I'm about to sue them because instead of returning the HTTP commands I'm lending to them, they are processing them and responding with web pages! My supply of HTTP commands is running low, and these thieves need to be brought to justice.

  • Well, knew him virtually up till about two years ago on a MUSH.

    Real asshat, I banned him a few times, he'd slink back and apologize and then be weird again.

  • by geekmux (1040042) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @07:14PM (#34044094)

    "...We have engaged an attorney who will be doing a bulk subpoena demand on each ISP involved, particularly Verizon Droids, Frontier and Road Runner, and will then pursue individual legal actions.'"

    Yes, because somehow this is so much cheaper than putting up a paywall...

    IANAL, but I have a word for what they're doing...it's called extortion. Good luck finding any readers after pulling a stunt like this...

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @07:20PM (#34044160) Homepage

    I don't mean the top one to buy a subscription, I mean the one lower down, where you can simply "donate". To a company that will then sue you for not donating enough.

    There is not enough Epic for this Fail. They've used up the supply of Epic Fail right through to New Years.

  • by Hero Zzyzzx (525153) <dan@@@geekuprising...com> on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @07:21PM (#34044164) Homepage

    She got in a fight with a retired attorney here [harvard.edu], where he calls out her sockpuppetting and claims that "fair use doesn't apply," like just saying it would make it so.

    Anyway - she's clearing using an autoblogging plugin like wp-robot (won't link, they are scum) to rip articles from other sites via RSS while stripping attribution in her attempt to extort money from people more ill-informed than her - if they exist. Basically, she is guilty of exactly what she's accusing others of doing.

    I love cranks. They really keep the world interesting.

    Full disclosure: I sysadmin blogs.law.harvard.edu.

  • arg (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Blymie (231220) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @07:48PM (#34044446)

    I was forced to post, so I could undo a mistaken moderation. Why does moderation happen instantly? Why can't you undo it, if your mouse slips, except via this method?

  • No Poetry? (Score:3, Funny)

    by adamofgreyskull (640712) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @09:13PM (#34045094)

    The North Country Gazette welcomes letters of up to 300 words. The editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, brevity, good taste and accuracy, and to prevent libel. No poetry or letter writing campaigns will be accepted. Submissions are limited to one every 30 days. All letters must include the writer’s name, address and phone number. We will not publish street address, e-mail address or phone number.

    Letters can be submitted at news@northcountrygazette.org [mailto]. All letters become the property of The North Country Gazette.

    So...a letter writing campaign consisting of an anonymous 301 word bad-taste poem sent every 29 days would not be well received? Interesting...

  • by Kaenneth (82978) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @10:58PM (#34045644) Homepage Journal

    How many hits did they sucker you guys into giving them?

We want to create puppets that pull their own strings. - Ann Marion

Working...