LA Journalist Puts The Daily Up On The Web, For Free

The iPad was supposed to be the walled garden where newspapers could get back to writing news and readers could get back to paying for it. 

But just one day after the launch of The Daily a Tumblr has appeared, The Daily: Indexed, with links to all the paper’s free content. 

As this Tumblr points out, there are still some items which can’t be accessed without purchasing the iPad app, “If you like these articles, go subscribe.” 

It’s a nice gesture, but as it turns out, this page is intended to test the legal limits of sharing content. It’s created by Andy Baio, a programmer and journalist from L.A.

“Frankly, I’m also very curious about the legal implications. My understanding is that linking to public news articles is unquestionably legal, and I believe that right should never be discouraged. It’s also worth noting that Google’s slowly indexing all the articles too, and search engines aren’t blocked in their robots.txt file. But I’m still recovering from a legal nightmare last year (more on that soon), so if asked to stop publishing and delete the Tumblr, I will. (Lawyers: My email address is at the top of this page.) In the meantime, enjoy!”

No worries Andy, News Corp. knew this would happen. It’s cool.

UPDATE: Baio emailed The Observer to say, “I love that this kind of experimentation is happening with journalism. I love journalism dearly and want to see new models emerge, and charging for content is a great way to align a media organization’s interests with those of its readership. That said, if you do charge for access, you can’t publish free versions to the web and hope that people don’t find them.”

bpopper [at] observer.com | @benpopper