"Paywalls" such as at the IEEE exist, IMO, because someone
is looking at this kind of publishing as selling a product
to consumers, with ordinary business thinking about how to
pay costs of the product, as if a technical paper were only
an entertainment for people with special tastes.
I argue that a penniless student with the intelligence, interest,
and desire to understand -- i.e., who has this special taste --
actually has the most valuable coin with which to "pay" for his
copy: his attention-time (especially golden if passion-driven).
It is therefore sad to see copyright used to milk a little revenue
from an intellectual seeding process, for apparent lack of fund-raising
imagination or appreciation for the value to the country of
free and open information.
Such use of copyright goes directly against the stated goal
of the Constitution when it empowered Congress to make laws
"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts..." (which
gave us copyright and patent laws, per Article 1, Section 8).
I don't see information paywalls as promoting any science or art.
Tuition is another form of the same.
OTOH, I do understand that lwn is not yet funded by a peer-petitioned
grant through the Library of Congress (for recognition as a valued
independent implementer of many LOC goals), so I subscribe ;-)