The Internet – no longer free?

The news that The Times and Sunday Times are going to start charging for their online content is a worrying paradigm shift in the way that online information will be made available in the future.

Whilst of course, charging for online content is not a new idea – there are numerous sites that do this – it is a concern that the desire to monetize online operations will restrict the web’s universal availability. There are numerous ways of getting a financial return from web content – Google are masters at this with their advertising revenues – Twitter have yet to work it out.

But to charge in the way that the Times proposes changes the balance. The Web was always meant to be a Universal Resource and sites such as Wikipedia and the numerous other information providers have embraced this – and long may they continue to do so.

Irrespective of “the cost of free” – information is out there to be communicated and I hope that the Times won’t be the start of a trend.

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