January 2005

Glenn Reynolds (a.k.a. “Instapundit”) reports that the New York Times may start requiring readers of its website to pay for that privilege. I’ve got not objection to that as a general matter; I’m no copyright commie. But I’m not sure I’d welcome the probable consequences.

Prof. Reynolds predicts, “the Times would lose a lot of influence if it made this move, since it would only be talking to the true believers.” Perhaps so. I’d have to see some figures about how much of the Times’ readership reaches it only via the web before I’d put money on that prediction.

I will risk this prediction, however: The Times would start wielding copyright law against pesky bloggers. In the past, the Times has published editorials and stories somewhat sympathetic to copyright reform. Consider, though, what would happen if it started charging for access to its website.

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And they’re off! It’s a race between technology and law to see who can control spyware.

In Lane 5, the U.S. Congress is again considering anti-spyware legislation.

In Lane 6, Microsoft has just introduced an anti-spyware program that rivals Ad-Aware and SpyBot, according to one writer’s first impression.

Who’s in Lanes 1-4? Oh, it’s the anti-spyware tools that are already out there: Ad-Aware, SpyBot Search & Destroy, PestPatrol, and all the others.

Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen! If you backed CAN-SPAM, here’s a chance to make your money back – or double your losses.