(Apologies to Abbie Hoffman.)
You may be aware that the venerable New York Times has announced that at the end of this month it will begin a controversial new program: it will put its content behind a paywall. This is of course part of the rapid evolution of news media in the internet age. When readers have become accustomed to getting all their news for free, how can reputable news organizations stay in business?
The Times is going to try to get people to pay. What they have announced is that the first 20 articles per month will be free, but after that you have to pay. Those following links from blogs or Twitter or Facebook can read those articles without paying. You can see what's coming here, can't you? There's already a Twitter feed that proposes to provide a link to every Times article published.
Or here's an even easier fix (and an intellectual property question):This site gives you a bookmarklet that you can just drag to your bookmarks toolbar to click any time you want to read a New York Times article over your limit. Here's my question for you IP afficionados. Does providing that bit of technology–which allows people to get access to content that they are otherwise prevented from viewing–does that constitute copyright infringement? Aiding and abetting? I haven't looked into this for a long time. I know that VCR makers and users were held to be under the "fair use" exception, but that Napster lost.
And am I guilty for providing you the link to get the bookmarklet that allows you to read the New York Times articles?