The news was released that Mozilla just removed from the extension store from your browser to the extension"Bypass Paywalls Clean", a popular extension for Firefox and Chrome that, as the name suggests, allows users to bypass digital paywalls (paywalls) on popular websites to read content for free.
Mozilla has not made any statement on the reasons for its decision., but there are some in the community who suggest that the extension was removed because it had accumulated too many users. While waiting to know the causes, the company is strongly criticized, since it is not in its first attempt.
About Bypass Paywalls
Bypass Paywalls Clean (or Bypass Paywalls) is a browser extension or script designed to bypass digital paywall restrictions from some news sites that limit access to their content. Bypass Paywalls allow users to access this content without having to pay a subscription.
It is compatible with Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers. But last week, the extension's developer reported on the project's GitLab repository that Mozilla removed Bypass Paywalls from its Firefox extension store, preventing users from downloading it directly to the browser.
The company later remained silent on its decision.
“I have already explained the functionality of the extension in the first line of this article. One of the sites may have sent a DMCA notification to the Bypass Paywalls extension, which could have led Mozilla to remove the extension from their store. I'm not entirely sure, because if so, wouldn't Mozilla have notified the developer? Or maybe you violated a clause in the terms and conditions of the deposit. We can't be sure, all we know is that you can no longer download the plugin from the extension store,” the developer wrote.
Also, bypass paywalls inevitably compromises the business models of news organizations that implement them on their websites and some argue that this could limit their ability to produce quality journalism. In particular, they would find it difficult to finance themselves.
In December 2018, Bypass Paywalls had already been banned by Mozilla. One of the reviewers for the Firefox Extension Store removed it for violating the platform's terms of service. But at the time, the developer pointed out that the platform's terms of service did not mention the word "paywall" even once. The developer then launched a motion to appeal against Mozilla's decision. It appears the move had the merit of forcing Mozilla to reinstate the extension in its app store before removing it last week.
The company must comply with US laws, such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The new removal of the extension could be explained by the fact that Mozilla received a DMCA notification and complied with it. This is because the DMCA Notice and Takedown Procedure is a tool for copyright holders to remove user-uploaded material that infringes their copyright from websites. Companies regularly make this type of withdrawal request, for example, in the context of leaking software before the official release date.
The developer of Bypass Paywalls has reported that they have updated the extension to version 3.5.0. You may not see the update even if you already have the extension, as it has been removed from the list. However, you can choose to install the unsigned version by loading the XPI from the project's GitLab releases page.
If you opt for this version, you must export your custom filters before upgrading. Few people like to use unsigned extensions for security reasons. But the extension author also maintains a list of filters that you can use with ad blockers.
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