Friday, March 25, 2011

NYT: You Can Access Our Site For Free From Twitter, But Don't Tell Anyone That

It's becoming more obvious every day that the NY Times itself doesn't know quite what to make of its own paywall. It's letting people view articles for free if they come from other sites, especially Twitter. The idea, of course, is that they want to encourage people to share stories and visit the site. But, apparently, there are limits to how they want you to share stuff. Specifically, the NYT has asked Twitter to block a user account called @FreeNYTimes, which used the NYT's own API to tweet every headline. Of course, this is admittedly pointless. The NYT, itself, already does that. But, so what? If this gets more people reading the site, is that really such a problem? The NYT, of course, will claim that this is just about the "trademark" issue, but is this really a "use in commerce"? It seems like a perfectly accurate descriptive use. And, really, once again, so what? How does this matter? If you don't tweet the NYT's links in a manner they approve, will they ask Twitter to shut you down? Perhaps the folks at the NYT should focus on actually providing more value to people, rather than worrying about things like this.

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