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japanime

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Feb 27, 2006
2,608
3,688
Japan
I reported a post that provided a link to circumvent a paywall so users could access paid content for free of charge.

The moderator who reviewed my report concluded that no moderation action was warranted.

I would like to know why MacRumors feels links that circumvent paywalls are acceptable?
 

floral

macrumors 6502a
Jan 12, 2023
634
707
Earth
In my opinion, paying for news articles is a little silly. What I mean is, it costs a significant amount of money to produce, print and send paper news. But the internet is open to anyone free of charge, so it doesn't make sense to make people pay up for something that isn't costing them a cent.

So I think avoiding paywalls is a combination of common sense and a weak but existant "by any means necessary" mindset in terms of getting rumors which most members of this site share.

For example, some rumors are received from people that work for Apple leaking products that they test to make sure they work. It isn't legal, nor is it safe, but it's a rumor so it's appreciated in this website. Paywalled reports have a similar fate.

Of course if the link was not for Apple-related articles at all and just for general news articles, the reason for inclusion would be weaker.
 
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maflynn

macrumors Haswell
May 3, 2009
72,185
41,516
it costs a significant amount of money to produce, print and send paper news. But the internet is open to anyone free of charge, so it doesn't make sense to make people pay up for something that isn't costing them a cent.
There's still overhead, such as paying for employees. Just because a news site doesn't print in paper doesn't mean that they have zero expenses. I'm not fan of paywalls but I see the need for them.

I would like to know why MacRumors feels links that circumvent paywalls are acceptable?
I'm no mod but I do play one on TV :p

On one hand, there's no explicit rule prohibiting the circumvention, so that could be a reason why.

However I can see an argument saying that there could be a liability by knowingly keeping the link up and allowing a person to retrieve content that they're not authorized too. When I was a moderator we frequently took down posts that contained images of copyright material that was not meant for public consumption that is schematics to logic boards.

Secondly, in the past direct links used to download beta versions of iOS/macOS were frequently taken down and not permitted since it bypassed the need to authenticate with apple.

So with all of that said, I agree, it doesn't make sense to keep the link there and if I was the owner of the article, I'd be none to pleased that other sites were allowing my content to be stolen.
 

floral

macrumors 6502a
Jan 12, 2023
634
707
Earth
There's still overhead, such as paying for employees. Just because a news site doesn't print in paper doesn't mean that they have zero expenses. I'm not fan of paywalls but I see the need for them.
Makes sense... but a bit fruitless anyways, since the paywalls are often just elements on the page and can be voided with inspect tool :?
 

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
16,333
5,719
I reported a post that provided a link to circumvent a paywall so users could access paid content for free of charge.

The moderator who reviewed my report concluded that no moderation action was warranted.

I would like to know why MacRumors feels links that circumvent paywalls are acceptable?

We don't have a policy on links like that. It just hasn't come up, but it seems like something we don't really want to police. What if someone copy/pastes a screenshot of the article?
 

ericgtr12

macrumors 68000
Mar 19, 2015
1,731
11,979
I see them as extremely frustrating, I get they have to pay the bills but there has to be more ethical ways than essentially providing you with a clickbait headline that you then must pay to see the contents of. At the very least they should be providing something stating as such in the headline that says "paid access only" type of thing. Otherwise, I have no issues with circumventing them, or even better find another source and give them the proper credit.
 
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KaliYoni

macrumors 65816
Feb 19, 2016
1,352
2,980
We don't have a policy on links like that. It just hasn't come up, but it seems like something we don't really want to police. What if someone copy/pastes a screenshot of the article?

I think a formal policy would be OK so that if a user who regards these links as unethical makes a report to the moderation team, the action that will–or won't–be taken is clear.

My personal view is that paywall avoidance links are similar to links to pirated software, movies, and music. The creator of the content or code is having compensation for their work stolen from them.
 

icanhazmac

Contributor
Apr 11, 2018
1,958
6,914
My personal view is that paywall avoidance links are similar to links to pirated software, movies, and music. The creator of the content or code is having compensation for their work stolen from them.

As much as I hate finding interesting info behind paywalls I agree with @KaliYoni. If an alternate link directly bypasses the paywall of someones work/ip/property then it could be loosely viewed as theft. If the genesis of this thread is the link I am thinking of then I am fairly sure the same information could be found outside of the WSJ.

Along the same lines... if MR writers posted content in the "members only" sections only to have members post that content in the free areas of the site why would anyone become a member?

The archive link is probably a gray area, I'm no lawyer.

I would like to suggest some online common courtesy... when MR, or any member, posts a paywalled link that they simply label it as such. Ex: www.whateverrandomsite.com (paywall), this way if the reader is not a member of the site they can skip the link.
 

japanime

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Feb 27, 2006
2,608
3,688
Japan
We don't have a policy on links like that. It just hasn't come up, but it seems like something we don't really want to police. What if someone copy/pastes a screenshot of the article?
Arn, I love your site, and respect the hard work you and your staff do to keep it running smoothly.

I am disappointed, though, that my report was dismissed. I acknowledge that it would be nearly impossible for the moderation team to actively police new posts to ensure links to to websites sharing paywalled content aren't being shared. But how hard would it have been for a mod to remove such a post when it is reported?

If the link I reported was for a website providing pirated copies of commercial software (rather than pirated copies of paywalled reading material), would the mods have made the same conclusion that "no moderation action was warranted"?
 
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HDFan

Contributor
Jun 30, 2007
5,150
1,990
paying for news articles is a little silly.

There's still overhead, such as paying for employees. Just because a news site doesn't print in paper doesn't mean that they have zero expenses.

Reporters, editors, photographers, transportation and hotel expenses, cameras, transmission equipment and so much more cost money. Let's not forget the 58 reporters who were killed in 2022. Hopefully their families receive financial support.

Looks as if Australia may be doing it right:

we have found a constructive path to support journalism that enables payments to be made to news publishers through Google News Showcase,

 

maflynn

macrumors Haswell
May 3, 2009
72,185
41,516
Along the same lines... if MR writers posted content in the "members only" sections only to have members post that content in the free areas of the site why would anyone become a member?
Or more importantly would the staff permit the content to remain for others to see (if posted in the open forums)? In all likelihood they would remove the post.

Again, I'm not for paywalls but I do see the wrong-ness in allowing links to bypass the paywall. How is that any different then stealing software? In fact the very definition of piracy shows that its stealing
1684575211137.png


So the staff talks about being consistent, well they're not consistent in this case.
They take down specific references and links to steal software and movies.
They take down posts that include images or links to Apple's internal schematics
They DON'T take down a link to copyrighted material that the owner charges for.
 
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I7guy

macrumors Nehalem
Nov 30, 2013
32,432
21,337
Gotta be in it to win it
Or more importantly would the staff permit the content to remain for others to see (if posted in the open forums)? In all likelihood they would remove the post.

Again, I'm not for paywalls but I do see the wrong-ness in allowing links to bypass the paywall. How is that any different then stealing software? In fact the very definition of piracy shows that its stealing
View attachment 2204656

So the staff talks about being consistent, well they're not consistent in this case.
They take down specific references and links to steal software and movies.
They take down posts that include images or links to Apple's internal schematics
They DON'T take down a link to copyrighted material that the owner charges for.
How is a link supposed to be verified that bypasses a paywall?- other than someone saying so and do you want to add that responsibility to the mods?
 

maflynn

macrumors Haswell
May 3, 2009
72,185
41,516
That’s not my point.
That is the point. The OP started this topic because he saw a link that bypassed the paywall. So it does seem to happen ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The site owner already stated that he's not concerned about it and does not see the need to police it. So its really a moot point and I don't want to beat a dead horse since its already been decided.
 
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I7guy

macrumors Nehalem
Nov 30, 2013
32,432
21,337
Gotta be in it to win it
That is the point. The OP started this topic because he saw a link that bypassed the paywall. So it does seem to happen ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The site owner already stated that he's not concerned about it and does not see the need to police it. So its really a moot point and I don't want to beat a dead horse since its already been decided.
You did post this https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...hat-circumvent-paywalls.2389965/post-32177143 after site owner posted his comments so I was just wondering, now hypothetically, if it was expected the mods verify every claim about links bypassing paywalls.
 

laptech

macrumors 68020
Apr 26, 2013
2,262
2,781
Earth
We don't have a policy on links like that. It just hasn't come up, but it seems like something we don't really want to police. What if someone copy/pastes a screenshot of the article?
That's a disgusting attitude to take and even worse considering the position you hold within MR. Circumventing paywalls is legalised theft and should be stopped and if such a thing is taking place in this forum then the admins/moderators are obligated to put a stop to it. It is like many things on this site the admins/moderators pick and chose what they like to and not like to do and make up excuses for it.
 

I7guy

macrumors Nehalem
Nov 30, 2013
32,432
21,337
Gotta be in it to win it
That's a disgusting attitude to take and even worse considering the position you hold within MR. Circumventing paywalls is legalised theft and should be stopped and if such a thing is taking place in this forum then the admins/moderators are obligated to put a stop to it. It is like many things on this site the admins/moderators pick and chose what they like to and not like to do and make up excuses for it.
So if a reporter claims a link is bypassing a paywall you expect the staff to do the research to determine if it does or not?

That seems to fall under the citation rule, which says that for facts a citation must be provided even if the citation is dubious.

What the site owner does is up to them, I personally wouldn’t post a link to bypass a paywall, but I can see their point of view of not verifying links in posts.
 

japanime

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Feb 27, 2006
2,608
3,688
Japan
Another hypothetical: If somebody were to start a site called "Ad-Free Macintosh Rumors" that was comprised of MacRumors articles without all the advertisements that are found on this site, would the MacRumors team be OK with that?

I'm guessing they wouldn't because, you know, that would be copyright infringement.
 
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I7guy

macrumors Nehalem
Nov 30, 2013
32,432
21,337
Gotta be in it to win it
Another hypothetical: If somebody were to start a site called "Ad-Free Macintosh Rumors" that was comprised of MacRumors articles without all the advertisements that are found on this site, would the MacRumors team be OK with that?

I'm guessing they wouldn't because, you know, that would be copyright infringement.
This entire site flourishes on the theft of IP. They are obviously not the ones stealing, they are reporting on what others have received in stolen information and are reporting in that. (Or on the flip side reporting what are legitimate news stories)

Bearing that in mind in your opinion is it okay to post a screenshot of an article behind a paywalled site? Cite a few words, paragraphs or even the entire article? Summarize in an essay like format the gist of the article?
 

I7guy

macrumors Nehalem
Nov 30, 2013
32,432
21,337
Gotta be in it to win it
That's quite a statement, so now you're accusing the owner, the staff and all of us of theft?
If you would have quoted the entire post it would be obvious of what then context was. And do you deny this rumors site republishes second and third hand sources of tidbits that someone leaked?

This entire site flourishes on the theft of IP. They are obviously not the ones stealing, they are reporting on what others have received in stolen information and are reporting in that. (Or on the flip side reporting what are legitimate news stories)

Bearing that in mind in your opinion is it okay to post a screenshot of an article behind a paywalled site? Cite a few words, paragraphs or even the entire article? Summarize in an essay like format the gist of the article?
 
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