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Dublin: 5 °C Sunday 23 February, 2020

New York Times paywall "can be defeated"

Writer suggests that paywall can be defeated by using four lines of Javascript.

The headquarters of the New York Times
The headquarters of the New York Times
Image: Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr

THE NEW YORK TIMES is spending between $40 – $50 million to design and construct a paywall, but reports are emerging that it is easy to break through. reports today that the paywall – which costs $15 to $35 a month, depending on the package – can be defeated using four lines of Javascript code.

If you read fewer than 20 articles a month, the site remains free, but once you go over the limit, you get a message telling you you need to pay to read more.

The article actually loads in your browser, but is covered by an overlay obscuring it.

According to, the full text is then still visible in the page source and the overlay is CSS and Javascript. There are tools to remove CSS and Javascript, or it can be removed using some browsers, so anyone with knowledge of this could try to get past the paywall.

In fact, a Canadian coder has released a bookmarklet that enables people to get past the paywall and uses only four lines of Javascript to do so.

The New York Times company has been working to fix around 200 glitches in the paywall technology, Bloomberg reports.

The paywall will launch in the United States in one week’s time and is currently only live in Canada.

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