Is blocking ads the same as stealing?

I submit that it is not, but Svetlana thinks otherwise.  I won’t address the Amazon issue, as it’s explained it pretty well and I agree on that stance.

Here’s some clarification…

Yes, you are a content creator, and that means you can receive compensation if you feel you should be rewarded for your work. However, you’re not “selling” your writings.  We do have a choice to not “purchase” your writings as you haven’t disabled public access to them.

Now, if you publish your work in PDF or locked HTML form and the only means to access it is through a subscription or individual sale of articles, then you are saying that you definitely want compensation and are, actually, “selling” your content. Then, if someone gets access to your work without compensating you, it is indeed “stealing”.

But until that happens, no one is “stealing” from you just because they’re blocking ads. Even your “about” page clearly notes, “Profy is a blog…” not a pay per view site. If, while browsing the site and viewing your ads, your visitors will generate revenue for you, then that’s a nice plus. However it isn’t a prerequisite for browsing your site as you have not configured your site for that.

“And advertising is supposed to be an equivalent of paying…”

Incorrect. Advertising is the advertiser paying you for views and clicks from a visitor (a solicitation) which the visitor is free to refuse.  If I’m walking down the street past an art exhibit (created by you) and while enjoying it someone hands me a flyer, I’m more that free to not look upon it or even accept it. The fact that web advertising is configured for a page load (or automatic view) is incidental.

For comparison… I’ve started selling T-Shirts, and if someone wants that particular content, then they have no choice but to purchase it.  It is a form of restricted access to content. But if someone wants to block images from RedBubble or links to the site, then they’re certainly free to do that. They’re not “stealing” from me. They’re just choosing to ignore extraneous objects for sale.

It’s a configuration enabled or installed on the visitors’ own computers for which I have no say and neither do you. Everyone should be free to browse however they please, and if the type of browser or browser setting disables access to ads, then that’s their call, not ours.

“Yet I think that this plugin (and multiple others intended for the same purpose) should be as illegal as the torrent one that Amazon was so quick to protest to last week.”

Welcome to China? How is infringing on the rights of the visitor any different than infringing the rights of the creator? You are arguing that computer users are not free to install whatever software they please and not use their computers however they please (provided they do nothing illegal). Choosing not to see your ad is not illegal. And making illegal any software intended for that purpose violates all our rights as netizens.

The road to hell, as they say, is paved with good intentions. This kind of draconian view on advertising will have greater (far worse) rammifications in the future.

The term “Patriot Act” comes to mind.

Warning: Personal opinion ;)

My writings are not for sale and I’ve placed most of it (since 1997) in the Public Domain. Obviously this isn’t acceptable for all content creators and many have locked them in copyrights etc… Mind you, under the Berne Convention, I don’t really have to assert my copyright claim. Just by creating the content, I’m automatically entitled to copyright. I have just chosen not to exercise that right for the vast majority of my writings.

My only wish is that someone will find my work useful for worthwhile and just purposes and will, in the end, benefit the community at large.


Forgot to mention this eariler…
Wikipedia runs on donations. If your content is truly useful, you will find a way to make money off of it without ads. Consider what they did at the Daily Kos. They asked ad blocking visitors to buy a subscription.


7 thoughts on “Is blocking ads the same as stealing?

  1. So I just had this thought that maybe she should hire the services of a botnet to click her ads, but the irony of the situation overwhelmed my brain before I could make a coherent strategy out of it.

    That aside, her claims are so absurd that I really can’t do anything besides laugh and shake my head.

  2. Well, I have to agree with you guys.

    The irony of it all really is funny. I mean do we step on our own tails to prevent people stepping on our tails?

    And, yeah. I did feel some outrage at this.
    I can understand a certain level of entitlement, after all they do put effort into their writings. But entitlement to a degree that will abuse users’ rights? No way!

  3. I have been looking for a literary agent/publisher for four years now, OK, there is a lot of work just going into that – what I have thought about is putting my stuff online so people can pay a small fee to download them, I don’t have a clue how to do that by the way, but it is an option.

    Now, what do I do – set up a website and then say “Come and sample my wares!” then have the audacity to say “hey you – you didn’t buy my book so you looked you will have to pay because you are using firefox”.

    People would just laugh at me. If people stole my books – that is a totally different thing – feck the ads, if I want something I will google it.

  4. I don’t think blocking ads is quite the same as stealing. In any case, to some extent its not so much blocking of the advertisements – but as reasonable paranoia on the part of many internet users – blocking anything unwanted that may be “hiding” behind the ad.

  5. Pingback: Top 10 Web features introduced by Satan « This page intentionally left ugly

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