A paywall blocks access to a webpage with a screen requiring payment. Web sites that use them include some owned by periodical publications. In 2002 the Financial Times started charging for Web access to published stories. The Wall Street Journal has almost one million paying online readers, which generates about $65 million a year.

Utilities to circumvent paywalls are available. RefSpoof for Mozilla Firefox spoofs the referrer to Google so that multiple ‘first click free’ links can be performed. BreakthePaywall adds an option to Internet Explorer’s context menu which uses various methods (referrer and user-agent spoofing, Cookie deletion, etc.).

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