September 26, 2005

About Those Bootlegs

People keep emailing me rogue cut-and-pastes of New York Times columns, so I guess I'd better put this in a separate post to underline it.

I'm aware that bloggers and message-board posters have put up copies of several TimesSelect op-eds that I don't have links to. I started this site to point to newspapers who print syndicated Times columns, not to promote copyright violations; when I found out that the Times changed their syndication policy to further shield the columns, I said I'd continue the site as long as syndicated copies keep slipping through the cracks. But I never intended to play Napster to the Times's Mettalica; if I did, I wouldn't have signed my name to the site.

So here's what I'll do. When I know there's a bootleg copy out there, I still won't link to it, but I will put up a link that says "(Bootleg available)" and point it to this post. You are free to search for those yourself. Try Technorati and Google Groups. But proceed with the understanding that I'm not endorsing such piracy; if you're a blogger who's posting NYT columns, don't expect me to back you up against the Times's legal team.

Posted by John Tabin at September 26, 2005 06:05 PM

Wow, aren't you brave?

Information yearns to be FREE, not for FEE!

Posted by: green libertarian at September 27, 2005 02:01 AM

Seriously. You're a real badass. I thought this site was going to liberate Krugman's wisdom (and other op-ed columnists who are now only available to those who pay) when we need his wisdom the most.

And, really, what's the difference between posting the text of the column scanned or re-typed? I doubt the New York Times would differenciate.


Posted by: LT at September 27, 2005 02:33 AM

This was too good to last anyway.

If I were Maureen et al I would be spitting tacks. Where are we saps to go for the true information on Bushboys etc.

I understand the economic nessecities of the Times but what about public service.??

Posted by: Rose at September 27, 2005 03:16 AM

I would imagine that the articles will be available in bit-torrent form. Perhaps they already are, I just haven't found them as yet.

Posted by: grover at September 27, 2005 08:54 AM

OK, OK, so now the task is a trifle trickier and more time-consuming. But -- again citing human nature -- that makes attaining the objective all the sweeter. As I mentioned previously, now I study those NYT columnists' output with increased mental intensity ... even with joy, whether I agree with their stance or not.

Posted by: daddydog at September 27, 2005 08:59 AM


[I've edited this comment, but the gist has been preserved. -JT]

Posted by: YouAssWipe at September 27, 2005 09:29 AM

How about something practical, like the email addresses for Dowd, Krugman, Rich, Herbert, et al so we can tell them what hypocrits they are for only writing for the rich?

Posted by: Ron at September 27, 2005 10:03 AM

for Rose and any others wondering where to go for the 'goods' on those 'Bushboys' -- try, for beginners. these are excellent and include links (esply to many other reliable truth-telling sites!

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now can be heard on TV, radio and the internet every weekday and now also podcasts. Amy has a great program and refers to wonderful and useful links all the time.

I'd also like to thank John Tabin for his help in bringing this service which provides what he can legally do at this time. I appreciate all the good links and helpful hints and tips on other more risky (currently unlawful) ways of obtaining some worthwhile articles.

Thank you John Tabin!

Spokane, WA

Posted by: Halimah Felt at September 27, 2005 10:26 AM

I don't understand the anger directed toward Tobin and this site. Why don't you guys complaining about what asses/pussies/(your favorite orfice here) these people are, go out and start your own web site? Anyone can have a site up in a few hours. You can post the NYT columns and worry (or not) about dealing with attorneys.
What is truly sad here is that the NYT, which should be a protector of freedom of speach is graying the line between the rights of a business and the rights of a newspaper.
I think that the NYT has a right to make money, it is a business after all; but I wonder how things might play out for them down the road when the Justice Department goes after them and the NYT claims First Amendment rights about an article in the "newspaper", while they are in court as a "business" claiming someone abused that amendment by revealing information that the Times consider "classified".

Posted by: phyrephox at September 27, 2005 10:52 AM

I dispatched my immediate response to the NYT for their new tax on valuable information.
I wrote my comments in the space they provided and also sent letters to the publisher and the president of the Times.
Also, sent letters to the respective columnists.
At first, all I got was a form letter which is what I expected, but then I recieved a non-form- letter rationalizing the tax and more or less appealing to whether I believed that the columns were worth it or not.
I believe the columns are vaulable, and I believe that they should remain free.
Will, bootlegged copies of the columns florish,
probably; will the NYT reconsider thier tax, possibly - if they get enough negative reactions.
In the response letter from the Times they did say the the LAT has abondoned their similar taxation policy but didn't state the reason for doing so.
My initial letter to them follows.
To whom it may concern:
I have noted my displeasure at you recent need for taxation on the
>op-ed information that you provide but only get a automated response.
>Your alteration to accessing the op-eds is very distressing.
>1.) I'm on a limited income!
>2.) Reading Dowd, Krugman, Friedman, Herbert and others provides
>valuable information that is greatly appreciated and digested so I
>can formulate my own opinion as to what is actually occurring in the
>If you were going to restrict access to information it should have
>been the access to the sports information and other more regional
>stories of which I have little interest in - living in California
>and not a Yankee,Mets, Giants or Nicks fan!
>Much of what you allow access to, like the Moss cocaine controversy
>is more suited to the tabloids and of no importance to me, and I'd
>suspect many others that are on fixed incomes that read your paper
>on line.
>This new move in restricting the flow of information and ideas seems
>to play right into the hands of the Bush administration!
>To say the least I'm very disappointed and upset with this
>additional taxation!
>Perhaps expressing my concern is a waste of time and I don't really
>expect a response but somebody must read the message! The LA times
>has a similar policy but they don't restrict the information of
>their op-eds nor what's important. They have the good sense to
>restrict access to entertainment stories etc.
>Bruce A. Morgan

Posted by: Bruce A. Morgan at September 27, 2005 11:54 AM

I'm not sure where to begin in responding to you idiots:

* First and foremost a newspaper is a business. If it doesn't make money it won't be around to provide these fine columnists. (In case you missed it the NYT just laid off hundreds of newsroom workers.)

* "Writing for the rich": You don't have to be rich to afford $50 a year (13 cents a day). You just have to decide HOW you want to spend your money. Sacrifice one beer or one latte or one pack of cigarettes a month and you're just about there.

* "Freedom of speach": Yeah, I take your arguments seriously...

Posted by: BobH at September 27, 2005 12:25 PM

We're just spoiled.

Before it was on the Web, you had to pay money to see any part of the Times, unless you picked up a discarded copy. Then they were free on the Web for as long as that worked for them. I'm in a tight spot right now and can't even afford the $50 per year, but still I can see that the Times is being reasonable: They still tell you the news, arguably a necessity, for free; it's only for opinion, a luxury, that you pay.

And no, I don't think they'd have trouble in one court defending their first amendment rights while in a different court they defended their copy rights.

Thanks, John Tabin. I enjoyed this while it lasted.

Posted by: jill at September 27, 2005 02:16 PM

I won't pay the NY Times for their op-eds even if I win the lottery. Charging online readers for access to their best political columnists is nothing but a shortsighted, ill conceived business plan that may be profitable in the near term but in the long term will benefit no one. The two groups who will be hurt the worst are those with limited incomes and then, of course, the writers. Ironically, Bob Herbert is an advocate for the poor. Also, wasn't it Paul Krugman who explained to the nation what the consequences of Social Security privatization would be? There are a lot of people in this country and probably the world who cannot afford to spend fifty dollars just to read NY Times op-eds. A lot of these people do not have the option to give up their "lattes" as one writer below suggests because they are already concerned about how they are going to buy gasoline for their cars and heating fuel this winter. I agree that the NY Times is a business. So let them get the increased revenue they seem to need out of the hides of the online advertisers!

Posted by: Liza at September 27, 2005 02:20 PM

If newspapers depended on subscriptions for income they would all be out of business. They make their money by selling advertising.
So why indeed are they restricting access to opinions columnists?

Posted by: E. L. at September 27, 2005 02:25 PM

I have I can use my public library login to access Proquest. It has all the articles same day.

Posted by: Steve E at September 27, 2005 05:37 PM

What's the big deal? Call me old-fashioned, but I always feel a litle guilty reading these columns for free. I know everyone wants the internet to be totally free, but it isn't. I read these columnists religiously, so I'm not going to let $50 a year stand between us. If the NYT gives everything more NYT. Besides, it only takes one person in a group and they can email the columns to their friends.

Posted by: Hank at September 27, 2005 05:57 PM

You can also use the Google Cache to pull up articles that have been removed from a Newspaper's website.

Posted by: Another Steve at September 27, 2005 06:09 PM

I'll consider paying the NYT for Op-Eds when they fire Judith "fucking" Miller.

Posted by: Zelph at September 28, 2005 01:26 AM

Rose, it's easy to remember how to spell it. "It is neCESSary that I use my CESSpool."

Posted by: Jim O'Sullivan at September 28, 2005 10:01 AM

Jim ( O'Sullivan )
You got me! Its a word I miss-spell every time. Even as I wrote it I had my doubts. But since English is my fourth language I hope I will be forgiven. Yes, we Yurropean forriners are interested in the rest of the world.
And yes, I miss Maureen et al.

Posted by: Rose at September 28, 2005 10:33 AM

Way to go, Rose! I was going to defend you, but I see now that it's not "necessary"!

Posted by: Eleanor at September 28, 2005 10:50 AM

I get all these columnists from different sources like BuzzFlash, or Truthout, but it was nice at the NYT just to go there and read it all at once and not wait for other sources. NYT is rich enough, why start charging for something that really you can get free elsewhere? Paul Krugman has his own "unprofessional" website; I'm sure others do to. I stopped buying the San Francisco Chronicle when it went up to 50 cents, mostly to protest that the homeless and the drug addicts cannot afford that extra quarter and that group NEEDS to read the paper!! Now I just get it on line. The newspapers are dying, you'd think they would make it cheaper rather than more expensive, both print and the net. What were these guys thinking? Nancy Keiler

Posted by: Nancy at September 28, 2005 11:52 AM

Maureen, Krugman, feh...doesn't anybody miss Tom Friedman??? I say wait it out. The LAT did the same thing a few years ago with their Arts & Entertainment section (which really bugged me at Oscar time), but they've since come to their senses and I can read Kenneth Turan and Patrick Goldstein for free again.

Posted by: Bo at September 28, 2005 01:02 PM

As I told the Times when I wrote to protest the new decision:

Posted by: JS at September 28, 2005 03:15 PM

Dude, do you want him to get in trouble? Just do what he suggests, search for the title in Google Groups. It took me like 0.0004 seconds to find the article. Don't be a dick.

Posted by: skeeve at September 28, 2005 08:43 PM

Someone recently asked what difference there is to linking to a blog or posting a column on the site compared to using a publicly available link to a syndication site where the material is available. the answer is there's a world of difference. If a newspaper makes material available, whether the Times likes it or not, linking to it violates no law. The web site may be violating an agreement with the Times or not, but the user is not violating a law by going to and reading this content. Reproducing material from a blog that is not made available by the publisher for this purpose is illegal. The blog is violating copyright laws by posting it and linking to it or reproducing the material is a violation. If John linked to such blogs or reproduced material on the site, he also would be violating the law. This site is legal as it is. I bet that the first time that John reproduced, illegally, any Times material, the times, which is probably salivating for such an error to be made, would pounce on the site with a cease and desist order.

Gene Asner

Posted by: Gene Asner at September 28, 2005 08:59 PM

I don't believe for a nanosecond that, as ir were, "far be it from you to encourage copyright violations".

(Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

In posting the comment "bootleg available" you are obviously encouraging copyright violations by helping to foster an audience for it.

And I'm glad you are!

Posted by: Dan at September 29, 2005 12:46 AM

Steve E --

thanks for reminding me about Proquest on my library site -- it worked perfectly well for me too; in fact, I didn't even have to put in the name of Maureen Dowd's article, it popped right up with just her name. (What about *that*, Rose?)

I also noticed some features which I haven't yet investigated thoroughly, like having alerts &/or articles emailed directly to me. Not to mention past articles being avaiable as well.

I sure hope that resource doesn't poop out ... I get some very gratifying gaffaws and happy chuckles from Maureen's inspired observations, hip hip!*^

Yo Bo! Yep, I miss T Friedman as often as I can ....

but I did hear some of his twisted notions on an audio of some panel discussion where Maureen was appearing with him ... I guess they were both promoting their latest books. But I had to worry a little when Maureen said that Thomas was her 'office husband' ... oh oh ;-(

Spokane, WA

Posted by: Halimah at September 29, 2005 06:56 AM

What about "what"? Halima?
What have I done now?
Am I supposed to know ""proquest?
Here? In little old irreverend(yes) and irrelevant (Rummy) Yurrup???

Please enlighten me.

Posted by: Rose at September 29, 2005 09:10 AM

Hi Rose,

Just felt to come back on and check if you'd picked up on my 'hint' for you!*^ Well, I was thinking: if *I* can find Maureen on Proquest, why can't Rose find her there too!?!

My library has a site which has electronic media access (by the use of my library card number), which includes 'Proquest' as one of the otherwise private databases.

So it's the library which subscribes and pays the fee, and we card-carrying library patrons get the benefit of the free use of these fee-based databases -- just by inputting our card numbers for access! Pretty swift, n'est ce pas?

If it's new to you, I hope you simply inquire at your nearby blessed library so that you too can continue to enjoy Maureen et al.

Ciao, amiga ...


Posted by: Halimah at September 29, 2005 10:38 AM

there is always something new.

Posted by: Rose at September 29, 2005 11:10 AM


From what I've just been reading on some of the links John Tabin has provided (over to Slate from M Kaus) about how people are really having a tough time accessing the op-eds even as paid NY Times *subscribers*, Proquest seems like a 'piece of cake'! ... meaning it's really quite direct and easy in comparison -- those folks are really suffering trying to get the system to let them through to read these 'walled-off' opinion articles! Sounds like a real mess so far ...

Well, I thought you were keen on Maureen, that's all. Think that's how I'll look for her and some of the others for the time being ...

I misspelled that loud laughing word -- it should be guffaws (not gaffaws) ... hoho

but, anyway, *where* are you now? near any US library?? or any other library? Are you going to try it? (Proquest, or some comparable-type approach to accessing freebie NYT op-eds?)
Just curious ...

Here in Spokane, WA, they've been hacking on the library budget, but as of this morning we've still got our Proquest up and running ...

say goodnight, Gracie


Posted by: Halimah at September 29, 2005 11:32 AM

If the N.Y. Times wants to charge me for certain op/ed writers then I will just op/out of their system, which I have done. Which also I will not read any of the material from their ads. They are good and have a very good op/ed page, BUT THEY ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE.

I realize that you must make a profit to stay in business. If they want to charge me for information I will take my leave of them.

Posted by: C. T. Rich at September 29, 2005 11:44 AM

What a bunch of crybabies. Would any of you people that are complaining about the Times charging for content do your job for free? I don't know about you, but I believe people (and companies) should be paid for their work. All of this outrage over having to pay a quite nominal fee for something you were lucky to get for free at all, let alone for so long.

And to those of you who seem to have no regard for copyright law, think about this: the US Constitution expressly gives congress the power to protect intellectual property because it is beneficial to society. Without the economic protection/incentive copyright law provides, creators of important content would not create and we would all be worse off as a result.

Posted by: Brett at September 29, 2005 02:29 PM

Brett --

So how much did you get paid for that job you did right here just now with your important content contribution?

Libraries also protect intellectual properties by preserving them and making them available to wider audiences, but we who take advantage of such opportunities don't have to pay at the time of our usage. Rather we arrange in our society to make these happy provisions for all by sharing the costs among us as we can agree to divide such responsibilities.

So it seems to me there are other, I can say higher, purposes and motivations involved in these matters beyond sheer self-interest and personal gain (as you demonstrate yourself by your own voluntary submission, for example).


Posted by: Halimah at September 29, 2005 03:27 PM

I agree that those who produce intellectual material should be paid. However, the questions are far more complex than you suggest. My objection has been, from the outset, that the Times had no scale of use charges. Someone who wants to read two columns a day shouldn't pay the same price as someone who wants to read two columns a day, have access to the archives, and also have access to the proprietary web content the times is developing. I would have no objection to paying a reasonable price for what I want to read. However, forty-nine dollars a year to read two rather short articles a day is simply not fair value. If the times had a graduated pay scale, I wouldn't be complaining. Many others might not be either.

Lots of magazines charge less for yearly subscriptions than the times is charging those who want to read two short columns a day.

Of course, many people don't want to pay for any online content. I'm not defending that view. I am defending a principle that predates the Internet by quite some time--the simple principle of charging a fair price for the value of what is being sold.

Gene Asner

Posted by: Gene Asner at September 29, 2005 03:58 PM