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Will Rupert Banish the WSJ Paywall?

If Rupert Murdoch has his way, he'll soon own the Wall Street Journal--and drop the newspaper's online paywall in the process. (More after the jump.)

As you probably well know, the Wall Street Journal is the only major American daily to require a paid subscription to access its online content. Fortunately, the Penn Law community can bypass the paywall by accessing the Journal's articles through LexisNexis. (If this is news to you, ask one of us about it at the reference desk.)

But while these databases are extremely useful if you're performing some hard-core research, what if you just want to keep current with national and world events? With the Washington Post, the New York Times, and other dailies, you can just hop over to their websites. If you want to make it easier on yourself, you can get the news in your RSS reader. Not so with the Journal--unless you cough up some cash.

As the article suggests, the Journal's $79 online price tag hasn't been a failure by any means. However, $50 million dollars in subscription revenue is a pittance for Murdoch. Apparently, he's betting on online ad revenue to continue its upward trend.

Whether or not the subscription-free online newspaper model is sustainable has yet to be determined. But Murdoch wants to test the waters anyhow. While Murdoch's move to buy the Journal has sparked questions concerning the future of the paper's editorial freedom, its technological freedom might be right around the corner.