A New York court recently sided with the Wall Street Journal’s decision to change its terms of service for subscribers, a surprising decision indicating that digital publishers may have more legal leeway than previously imagined.WSJ decided to spin its Barron’s Online service into a separate digital publication, with a separate pro-rated fee of up to $20 for continued access. When angry subscribers sued, charging breach of contract, U.S. District Judge Miriam Cedarbaum ruled that Down Jones (WSJ’s parent company) had stated in its contract that it could “change the fees and charges then in effect, or add new fees or charges, by giving [subscribers] notice in advance.” Cedarbaum then ruled that pop-up boxes on the website sufficed as suitable advanced notice.Many bloggers and law experts were surprised by the decision, deriding the practice of including wording in a contract that lets a company change terms of service on the fly. And it’s unclear whether WSJ subscribers are hoping to appeal the decision.But the ruling may allow subscription sites to exhale a bit. Although we still suggest notifying your subscribers by email or snail mail to any service changes, this recent ruling indicates that the law may be more willing to work with digital publishers who are trying to create sustainable business Models in a changing media environment and have to adapt quickly. Or it may simply mean that deep pockets can buy you great lawyers, and smaller publishers do not have such legal recourse.No matter what the takeaway, the debate is far from over, and we’ll continue to update you on changing laws that affect your online subscription business. For a refresher on existing laws and regulations, check out the wealth of legal help available at Subscription Site Insider.