Let us be clear before we go any further: we in no way condone any illegal hacking, any illegal theft, or any illegal scaling of the coming digital wall that the Orange County Register is placing on its website starting this week, the wall its owners don't want anyone to criticize. But that's the thing about walls: they're meant to be scaled (just ask la migra). And the Wizards of Grand Street are already setting themselves up for an epic fail by openly boasting about how their system of subscription is impenetrable.
In a Register story, Freedom Communications president Eric Spitz is quoted by his reporter as stating "there will be no way to 'game' the system to access the Register using Google, URLs or other websites."
"No way?" If readers have learned anything about this brave new world of daily newspapers putting up paywalls, it's that there is ALWAYS a way to get around a paywall. Stuff like this is like chum to media hounds, who'll inevitably show the rest of the world how to get around the wall. Hell, I still remember when the late, great LA Examiner (not the crappy website of today, but a predecessor of sorts to the media news site LA Observed run in part by Reason editor and Weekly friend of the show Matt Welch) posted the user name and password to some local paper's website that also boasted of their impenetrability to those who wouldn't play by the rules. Should be fun!
Oh, and the Reg itself has previously taught readers how to scale the paywalls of other publications.