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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Deep Publishing Intrigue: Publishing Activism Targeted Overpriced Academic Journals - Now It's Freeing Financial Journalism

Print version of the 'Daily Paywall'
on sale in New York City
Interesting, interesting, interesting! An enlightened individual, Paolo Cirio, has hacked into the paywalls of the top financial newspapers and magazines (such as the WSJ, the Financial Times and the Economist) and has published over 60,000 pirated articles for the general public on his newly launched site 'The Daily Paywall' AND he even pays you to read them! 

Is this right or wrong? Well, you decide. But, he (and I) "strongly believe that information must be free and knowledge accessible for everyone, especially if the material regards corrupted global economy and politics, because access to it would enhance democracy."

These financial publications have other means to grow readership and revenue, other than through the subscription model, such as other popular media employ like 'The Guardian' and 'VICE'. 

Paolo Cirio describes just how he hacked the stubborn censorship paywalls and how he he structured his 'Daily Paywall' site to allow the hacked-article authors to get paid.

Interesting and intriguing stuff.

Now this from the Motherboard section of The New York Times written by Brian Merchant:

Behind the Daily Paywall: The Site that Pays You to Read Pirated Articles

The ​Daily Paywall is a new website that's loaded with tens of thousands of pirated articles from some of the world's top paywalled newspapers, and its proprietor will pay you to read them.

Anyone who's spent any amount of time online knows what it's like to hit a paywall—you click the link, get a prompt to subscribe for access, perhaps experience a brief pang of disappointment, shrug, and move on your way. Thousands of bits of reportage and information remain sealed off.
Since 1997, when the Wall Street Journal became the first major newspaper to block its content from non-subscribers, a number of outlets have followed suit in fortifying their walls to protect revenue. Paolo Cirio is trying to knock them down. 
The digital artist—perhaps best known for installing "ghosts," images gleaned off Google Street View, ​on real-life city streetshas "hacked" into the paywalls of financial newspapers to share their content with the global public. Now, he's published 60,000 pirated articles from the WSJFinancial Times, and The Economist on his newly launched siteHe has also distributed a number of curated print versions containing topical selections of the previously walled-off content around New York City.
But his subversion doesn't end there; Cirio also wants to pay you to read the pirated stories. If a reader correctly answers a quiz about a piece re-published on the Daily Paywall, he or she will earn $1. 
Cirio describes the project as "a cocktail of share economy, crowdfunding, piracy, art market and labour exploitation for making political propaganda." In a series of emails, he explained how he executed the project, which he acknowledges will prove "controversial." 
"I paid subscription to the main financial newspapers, then I coded a script that automatically logs in WSJ, FT and The Economist a hundred times a day," he said. "Through the RSS channels, that they provide, the script gets access directly to every content they publish which successively gets sucked into my database on DailyPaywall.com. I've been doing so for the 12 months, my script has been running [a] thousand times a month in [the] background on my server."
And that's where the hacking comes in.
"To log in automatically through a script I had to hack [their] authentication system and cookies session, strangely enough all of them used similar technology. Yet, WSJ has increased they security just a month ago and so I had to get deeper in hacking them. Sick!"
Cirio has set up a donation system, wherein readers can donate to the project, to the journalists whose work you're reading, or to him.


"It's a crowd funding system, the money comes from who wants to pay someone else to read, plus other form of revenue in exchange of artworks or ads," he said. "In addition, authors of hacked articles are invited to claim payment."
I've requested comment from both the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, and have yet to hear back from either. 
As to the philosophical underpinnings of his project, Cirio explains it thusly:
"Ultimately, I leave for a question, regarding the subscriptions of those financial publications, do you think they really need extra revenues from subscribers while other popular media are getting more readers without subscriptions, es. VICE, The Guardian, etc?" 
"This project poses several questions that can't be answered through the common understanding that worn-out models and conventions are imposing on us," he said. "I strongly believe that information must be free and knowledge accessible for everyone, especially if the material regards corrupted global economy and politics, because access to it would enhance democracy." 
Comparisons are bound to be drawn to Aaron Swartz's advocacy—his activism targeted overpriced academic journals, while Cirio is trying to free financial journalism.
"So, as an open access activist, I will always proudly break barriers to access information and as artist I'll always provide settings to understands it better."

Resource Article: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/behind-the-daily-paywall-the-site-that-pays-you-to-read-pirated-articles

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Publishing Propaganda --- A Dangerous Proposition

John R. Austin of the
Writers Welcome Blog 
Propaganda in publishing is, indeed, a dangerous proposition - especially in world affairs. It seems Russia's publishing sector is churning out a ton of revisionist historical bull that will just brainwash the younger Russian generation into believing lies and deceitful propaganda and turn them even more away from the rest of the world community.

Matthew Luxmoore, a freelance journalist based in Moscow, reports this in the New Republic Magazine:

Russia's Publishing Industry is Churning Out Revisionist Histories

Russia's economy may be feeling the strain of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, but one sector at least appears to be doing OK. In bookshops across the country, a host of new titles has appeared in recent months, slamming American imperialism, debunking anti-Russian historical myths allegedly peddled by the West and justifying Crimea’s “return home.” Publishingthanks to a recent upsurge in patriotismis getting by.
Stroll past the bestseller shelves at Moscow’s largest bookshop, Dom Knigi on Ulitsa Novy Arbat, and your attention will likely fall upon The History of Crimea, a 500-page hardback released after Russia annexed the peninsula in March. Touting itself as the “first genuinely academic and objective history of Crimea in the new Russia,” the book contains a prologue by Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky and is published by Olma Media Group, a company which, according to the New York Times, recently acquired Russia’s largest school textbook publisher, Enlightenment, in a rigged government auction.
he History of Crimea, by the Military-Historic Society of Russia (OLMA Media Group, 2014). From the introduction, by Russian Culture Minister and Chairman of the Military-Historical Society, Vladimir Medinsky: “Millions of our compatriots waited decades for this day, and never lost hope that at some point justice will triumph and Russia will return to [the Crimea]. Our opponents on the international arena, through biased presentation of some facts while blocking out others, tried to paint a distorted version of events.”
You’re also unlikely to walk past the row marked “Foreign Affairs” without being drawn to one of the 2014 releases from the St. Petersburg-based “Piter” publishing house. Bright yellow, with bold black and red lettering spelling out titles like Chaos and Revolution: The Dollar WeaponRescuing the DollarWAR and Chaos in the Brain: the Information War Against Russia, most of the thin hardbacks that make up the series cost a mere 200 roubles (around $4). “Piter” has been particularly keen to support the career of Nikolai Starikov, a popular blogger and chairman of the ultra-conservative Great Fatherland Party, who has authored at least ten books on the Ukraine crisis this year.
In the “Politics” section, the shelves are stacked with fresh releases on the spreading tide of Ukrainian nationalism and the historic roots of the Russo-Ukrainian brotherhood. A large number of books in the section are devoted to Novorossiya, the state envisioned by separatists in Ukraine’s east.  
The Whole Truth About Ukraine: Who Benefits From the Country’s Split? By Igor Prokopenko (Eksmo, 2014). From the back cover: “Why has Crimea always been Russian? Why do Ukrainians no longer see Russia as a brotherly nation? Who benefitted from EuroMaidan and who know rules Ukraine? This book presents and analyses authoritative opinions on the subject.”
Pride of place is given to Russia’s Eurasian Revenge, a new book from Aleksander Dugin, the radical pro-Kremlin philosopher who advocates the restoration of the Russian Empire. Russia’s response to events in Ukraine, Dugin argues, is a stand against “global dictatorship” that has pitted the Russian world against the West. (A few texts offering opposing viewpoints on the Ukrainian crisis are available, but they are vastly outnumbered.) The “History of Russia” section at Dom Knigi is headed by the Myths about Russia series, a collection of 2014 releases that advance a new narrative of Russian history, updated to include the events of 2014.
Comrade Hitler, by German Romanov (Yauza Press, 2013). From the back cover: “Our hero, transplanted into the body of Adolf Hitler, changes the course of the Second World War! What price will he have to pay to invade Great Britain? Will he manage to hang Churchill as a ‘warmonger’ for his crimes against humanity? Will the Third Reich align with the Stalinist USSR? Will comrade Hitler together with comrade Stalin defeat the US and bring about nuclear war before the Americans?”
Perhaps the clearest common thread running through this new batch of releases is a renewed interest in the heroes of Russia's past, Joseph Stalin foremost among them. A cannon of texts proposing a second look at the controversial Soviet leader’s role in Russia's history has been published this year, including a revised and updated version of Icebreaker: Who Started the Second World War?, a 1990 book by Soviet dissident Viktor Suvorov, who claims that Stalin promoted Nazi Germany's expansionism in Europe so he could take advantage of the resulting havoc to move in and take control of the continent.
Stalin: Let’s Remember Together, by Nikolai Starikov (Piter, 2014). From the back cover: “Why is the long-forgotten historical figure of Stalin taking on new dimensions today? What do our contemporaries search for in this man, and others so angrily denounce? Whatever the contradictions, one thing is clear: Stalin’s unbelievable energies succeeded in protecting and strengthening an enormous country, and turned it into one of the superpowers of the 20th century.”
Not even the “Fantasy and Science Fiction” section has escaped the Russian readership’s preoccupation with events in Ukraine. In The Anger of Novorossiya, Donetsk-based fantasy writer Georgy Savitsky envisions a rapid spread across Ukraine of the war thus far confined to the country’s east, and a Russian invasion to protect citizens terrorized by the “Kiev junta.” Other gems in the series include Goodbye America by Aleksander Zolotko; Battlefield Sevastopol: Hero-City vs. NATO by Savitsky; and Lieutenant of the Future by Yuriy Valin, the cover of which features an armed Sergey Shoigu, Russia’s Defense Minister, standing over the capitulating, kneeling figures of Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Oleksander Turchynov, Ukraine’s Prime Minister and parliamentary speaker, respectively. 
When Will NATO Bomb Russia? Blitzkrieg Against Putin, by Yuriy Muhin (Yauza Press, 2014). From the back cover: “Putin’s Russia is far more vulnerable to an enemy blitzkrieg than Stalinist USSR! Today’s Russian Federation is more similar to the Second Polish Republic, which succumbed within two weeks to the Wehrmacht’s blows. And the Kremlin today is leading the country towards a repeat of the tragedy of 1941!”

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