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Google Closes Loophole Allowing Users to Access Large Amount of Subscription News Content for Free

The New York Times reports that Google is closing a loophole which allowed users to access large numbers of articles on subscription-based sites without paying for them.

The company's "First Click Free" program, which publishers of pay sites can choose to participate in, is designed to allow readers to get a taste of a site's content. For example, a person who finds a Wall Street Journal article through Google News can read it free, but if they try to reach other articles from that page they are asked to buy a subscription.

A well-known loophole has allowed readers to return to Google News and get access to more Journal articles. In many cases, a search for the article's headline on Google News produces a link to a free version.

In a change that Google announced in a blog post Tuesday, the company will allow publishers to limit non-subscribers to five free articles a day.


Thanks to my UW Law Library colleague, Howard Nash, for the tip.