[linux-elitists] IP: NYT: (Microsoft's) High-profile anti-Unix siteruns UNIX (FreeBSD) (fwd)

Aaron T Porter atporter@primate.net
Mon Apr 8 14:54:23 PDT 2002

On Mon, Apr 08, 2002 at 09:41:18PM +0000, john spurling wrote:

> > 	Do you actaully think this way? Using the nyt.com site with a
> > communal/fake login is just petty theft. Admittedly it's probably no
> > worse than reading the headlines at a news stand without buying a copy,
> > but be honest about what's going on here; they're offering to exchange a
> > service of generally high quality for some personal information about you
> > that they believe they can leverage in order to fund the venture. Working
> > ways around that is no better than shoplifting. If you don't like their
> > registration policies, or what they might do with the information they
> > collect, don't use the damned site and suck it up.
> do *you* honestly think this way? come on, we're not talking about
> traveling to another country with a fake passport here. just as the
> nyt is entitled to ask for personal information to access their site,
> we're entitled to lie about it. it's only fair. the "you must comply
> with registration policies" argument doesn't hold water, either. what
> if they add a clause to their user agreement that says, "you may not
> purchase or use any products that compete with those of our
> advertisers?" this is an extreme example, but it demonstrates that
> companies do things for their own best interests, not those of their
> customers, and if left unchecked, the lengths companies will go to are
> limitless.
> the key idea here is that nyt can do whatever it wants, and so can
> we. some people surf through proxies that are meant to remove banner
> ads, so are those people thieves too for undermining websites'
> business models? some people turn off javascript so they don't get
> popunders. hell, lynx users don't see graphical ads at all; surely
> those people are criminals too. 

	So how far does your philosophy stretch? Bookstores put those
magnetic strips in their books to prevent theft. They're fairly easy to
find and remove. Is it your right then to circumvent their anti-theft
devices and shoplift? The NYT website isn't some public resource they're
restricting you access to that you inherintly deserve -- it's a commercial
service! If you don't like their terms, don't use the service -- or better
yet start your own... write for indymedia... whatever. But "doing whatever
we want" to obtain unfettered access to their resources is in my mind
immoral. I do think that you have the right to practice civil disobedience
and provide such a registration, but acting as if the New York Times is
the "bad guy" in the situation definately hits a nerve.

	On the subject of blocking ads & popups -- I do think it's very
shortsighted to undermine the business model of an online resource that
you obviously find valuable. I do however make a personal ethical
distinction between turning off all pop{up,under} ads in Mozilla and
actively providing false or misleading registration information for a
commercial service.

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