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Amid criticism from media companies that it is unfairly profiting from news content, Google is closing a loophole that allowed some motivated newshounds to read large numbers of articles on subscription-based sites without paying for them.
The company’s “First Click Free” program, which publishers of pay sites can choose to participate in, is designed to allow readers to get a taste of a site’s content. For example, a person who finds a Wall Street Journal article through Google News can read it free, but if they try to reach other articles from that page they are asked to buy a subscription.