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Print Not Dead, Says Website
June 11, 2014 10:58 AM   Subscribe

Think Instapaper is a misnomer? With PaperLater (from Newspaper Club), you can save things online to read later, on paper.

via Sore Eyes.
posted by the man of twists and turns (43 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
First rule of Newspaper Club is PRETEND YOU DON'T OWN A PRINTER.
posted by Fizz at 11:03 AM on June 11 [5 favorites]


Is... this a joke?
posted by desjardins at 11:06 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]


It's a joke in that it won't be a profitable or even really practical idea on its own, but it's brilliant as part of someone's art or tech portfolio. I'd guess it was also pretty fun as a problem solving exercise.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:10 AM on June 11


How does this work with copywritten material, e.g. actual newspaper and magazine articles? Is part of that steep-ass £5 fee (a little bit more than $8 USD) going towards paying for commercial print rights for the articles in question?
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:13 AM on June 11


You know, if I could pick a couple dozen webcomics, and have them regularly mailed to me in the format of a newspaper comics page, with a crossword puzzle on the back, I would totally do that.
posted by rifflesby at 11:14 AM on June 11 [15 favorites]


I didn't see anything on the site about buying reprint rights, Strange Interlude. Seems to be a business model predicated on theft.
posted by Longtime Listener at 11:14 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]


I could see this as being an interesting avenue for writers who want to create compilations of their work - send all the files to PaperLater, let them manage typesetting, and tada! Something more unique than a chapbook.
posted by divabat at 11:15 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]


I could see this as being an interesting avenue for writers who want to create compilations of their work - send all the files to PaperLater, let them manage typesetting, and tada! Something more unique than a chapbook.

Yes, I can see a lot of fun possibilities, myself...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 11:23 AM on June 11


Are reprint rights necessary if you're only printing one copy? If I print out an article on my home printer to read later, I assume I don't need reprint rights to do that. If I don't have a printer and go print it at Kinko's instead, I'd think that's still true. This is just the next step after that, yeah?
posted by rifflesby at 11:29 AM on June 11


Yeah, but you're not selling your home/Kinkos printouts to anyone for a presumed profit. These guys are.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:30 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]


Kinko's presumably makes a profit from whatever they charge me to do the printing, though.
posted by rifflesby at 11:34 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]


This is so hipster that I don't know how they see their own feet.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:37 AM on June 11 [6 favorites]


On one hand, I don't own a printer because I basically never ever need to print anything other than legal documents once or twice a year, and I can go to Staples for that. So I can sort of imagine why I might want this?

On the other hand, every single other thing about this.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:42 AM on June 11


Christ, imagine if it laid out targeted ads, too...
posted by frecklefaerie at 11:51 AM on June 11


I guess I'm in the minority because I think I would really use this. It seems really cool.

Seems like it would be a great tool, too, for parents wanting to assemble/curate reading material for their kids.
posted by jbickers at 11:55 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]


rifflesby: "Kinko's presumably makes a profit from whatever they charge me to do the printing, though."

The important thing with Kinkos is that they're just providing (and in turn charging you for) the printing/scanning/paper/ink, not the content. And generally retail print shops of that ilk are pretty scrupulous about copyrighted material; If I came in with a copy of (for instance) the latest Spider-man comic and asked them to run me off 10 full-color copies for my friends, they'd politely laugh in my face and say no.

Given that these guys are very specifically aggregating and reprinting content that has already appeared elsewhere (and possibly in a competing legitimate source print edition) it sounds like they're quite comfortable playing fast and loose with copyright.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:57 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]


Strange Interlude: I still don't see how they're different than Kinko's? They're not coming up with the content from nowhere - you as the reader is sending it to them to print and arrange in a copy exclusive to you.
posted by divabat at 12:02 PM on June 11


This is the dumbest goddamned thing I've ever seen. And I've been on the Internet, man...
posted by stenseng at 12:12 PM on June 11


Didn't Google already do this? As an April Fool's joke?
posted by resurrexit at 12:18 PM on June 11 [1 favorite]


I dunno. If it were available in the US, I'd probably try it once or twice... and I could totally see a (very) niche market for anyone enjoying their 5 minutes in the local news media, or for someone with a deep resentment for a celebrity/public figure as a gag gift. Imagine, an entire newspaper dedicated to how moronic politician "X" is!

I don't see it as a thing I'd have regularly delivered, but I can absolutely see gift potential, especially if someone I knew had a blog or wrote and published stuff on-line.

(Printing out Internet articles at home is doable, but this just seems "neater.")

I also don't see any moral issue with this as far as copyright. It's no more infringing than going to a concert, taking a picture of the band and printing it to a T-shirt.

After all, you still have to go to the pages with the content you want, thereby enabling the page-clicks, views, or whatever metric they use to count your visit, and this is just paying someone to lay it out for you, print it, and mail it to you for your personal use.
posted by Debaser626 at 12:25 PM on June 11


The Printed Blog tried web-to-print in Chicago, and failed not once but twice. I could see a service that creates a PDF you could send to your home printer as being slightly useful, but I'm not sure having it on fancy newsprint for £5 is all that compelling.
posted by me3dia at 12:28 PM on June 11


Many is the time I have sat on the toilet perusing the paper, and wishing I had my favorite website articles from 3-5 days ago to read instead. This is PERFECT.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:04 PM on June 11


The exact same concept was launched prominently in the london tech scene in April and was killed in 4 hours. So either these guys have taken good legal advice or they will be dead in a similar amount of time.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 1:08 PM on June 11


divabat: "Strange Interlude: I still don't see how they're different than Kinko's? They're not coming up with the content from nowhere - you as the reader is sending it to them to print and arrange in a copy exclusive to you."

I see your point, divabat. Perhaps it's a question of intent: Kinko's will actively shoo away your business to keep you from copying/printing copywritten material with their machines, whereas PaperLater seems pretty much built on the idea of doing just that.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:09 PM on June 11


Kinko's will actively shoo away your business to keep you from copying/printing copywritten material with their machines

Huh, i didn't know they did that. So they'll shoo you away even for personal use?
posted by divabat at 1:15 PM on June 11


Props on the title
posted by Dr. Twist at 1:20 PM on June 11


We had Personal Paper in the UK a few weeks ago.

Personal Paper was killed off in four hours. Is this just the same or did I miss something?

I guess two weeks is a long time in Startup Land.
posted by colie at 1:34 PM on June 11


There might be an argument for copyright infringement if multiple copies of the same paper were made and then sold without the original author's knowledge, but since this is one-run I still don't see what the copyright problem is.
posted by divabat at 1:57 PM on June 11


The copyright problem is in charging money for something to which you do not own the copyright. Not for the act of applying ink to paper, but for the dissemination of the copyrighted work for profit. It doesn't matter whether you do that with one copy or a million copies.
posted by Longtime Listener at 2:00 PM on June 11 [1 favorite]


I didn't see anything on the site about buying reprint rights, Strange Interlude. Seems to be a business model predicated on theft.

They're disrupting the paradigm! yet another example of techo-libertarian SV bullshit.
posted by emptythought at 2:17 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]


Speaking of Kinko's they got sued for selling printed and assembled copies of papers on reading lists for college courses. They were illegally creating an anthology to sell, and got sued by the publishers. They don't do that anymore and shy away from anything copyright infringementy. [citation]
posted by dipolemoment at 2:26 PM on June 11


Ok, ex-Kinkoid here. I haven't work at one in over a decade, and it may be different now, but there were some pretty strict rules for copyrighted material. In the late 90s there was at least one lawsuit that Kinko's lost concerning this.

Someone would come to the counter and want copies of copyrighted stuff, and we would do one of two things. A) tell them we couldn't copy it ourselves, but they were welcome to do so at the self-serve computers and copiers. Or B) if we felt that making a copy of their copyrighted stuff was ok, then we'd have them simply fill out a quick form that (in theory) absolved Kinko's in any legal sense.

If it were obviously copyrighted, we'd say no, but if it was kind of iffy, we'd just have them fill the form. I'll bet that Kinko's would want to stay away from this kind of thing.
posted by zardoz at 2:40 PM on June 11


since this is one-run I still don't see what the copyright problem is

A low number of copies doesn't magically make copyright disappear.
posted by msbrauer at 2:49 PM on June 11


But it's not like they are distributing the copy to anyone other than the person who ordered it!

I still don't see how this is any different than using a printer. Though the Kinkos ruling (which is,new to me) seems similarly absurd.
posted by divabat at 2:53 PM on June 11


Basically I'd say it's the difference between copying mp3s or ripping a CD in your own home, vs. someone printing a bootlegged fake vinyl album, making up artwork, putting the artist's name on it without permission, and selling it to you for money.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:14 PM on June 11


First Uber invented the idea of transporting people for money, then the 3D printing folks invented the manufacturing of physical objects, and now these guys have given us printed words on paper!

These modern innovations really are staggering. What a time to be alive!
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:17 PM on June 11 [4 favorites]


Divabat, let's walk through some of the permutations:

* Someone puts content online for you to read, and you read it: No problem.

* You print a copy for yourself: No problem. Nothing has been resold.

* You contact the copyright holder and order a reprint. No problem. They have the right to sell it to you.

* Someone else prints a copy and marks up the price so they make a profit selling you content that they don't own. Now we have a problem. The fact that you ordered it doesn't matter. You can't grant them the right to resell the material. Only the copyright holder can do that.
posted by Longtime Listener at 3:33 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]


* You walk into Kinko's, give them a file, and ask them to print it out. They do, for the same price they print everything. They do this every day, but it's theoretically the same as the last option, so isn't it technically the same as well?
posted by koeselitz at 3:40 PM on June 11


I'm not a lawyer, but it does seem technically the same to me. That's why, as Zardoz says up-thread, Kinko's lost at least one lawsuit over this practice. Of course it's easy to get away with if you don't draw attention to yourself. What we have here is a business that is publicly offering its services to resell material it doesn't own. That's not likely to end well.
posted by Longtime Listener at 3:59 PM on June 11


I'm not in the least bit a lawyer, but maybe it hinges on what they're selling? If I use my own printer, the people I bought the ink and paper from aren't liable. If I make a copy on the Kinko's self-serve machine, they're selling me printing services, so they aren't liable. If I give them the file on a memory stick and ask them to print it out for me, they aren't liable for the same reason, though they might ask me to sign a waiver (which I imagine says something like "I swear this is for my personal use only and not for any sort of profit, and Kinko's is only selling printing services and has nothing to do with it.")

So maybe these guys can get away with it on similar grounds? They're only selling printing services for single, personal-use prints; they aren't selling me the content.
posted by rifflesby at 5:12 PM on June 11 [1 favorite]


rifflesby--that's what Kinko's does, yes. They have the customer sign a waiver in a lot of cases, but copyright law is pretty complicated and not all Kinko's workers are up to snuff. I remember having meetings/trainings specifically on copyright law, but even after that I think there were some grey areas no one was quite sure about. There would be little old ladies who would have an Olan Mills family photo they wanted copies of for their family members, and it was pretty obvious they weren't going to make a profit off of it, or that anyone besides the family members would even know about it, so in those instances we'd just do it.
posted by zardoz at 6:30 PM on June 11


* You walk into Kinko's, give them a file, and ask them to print it out. They do, for the same price they print everything. They do this every day, but it's theoretically the same as the last option, so isn't it technically the same as well?

As someone who only uses kinkos for this anymore and nothing else since i don't own a printer(and don't know a single person who does!), they wont print it for you. They'll walk you over to a computer and show you what to click if you really want their help, but that's all i've seen them do for people walking in. If you want like, 4000 copies i imagine they'd do it. But just one or two copies of one thing? they're going to lead you to water and tell you to drink.

i always assumed this was to avoid sticking their neck out on stuff like this. There's no "common carrier" protection for print shops. And a service like this seems like nearly napster levels of obviously against the law.

You're pasting in stuff from websites. They know you're taking it from somewhere. Hell, it could be the times, or an ebook(or an ebook preview...) or any number of other paywalled things.

This is so obviously a middle finger to the rules thing i can't believe it.
posted by emptythought at 11:37 PM on June 11


Didn't Google already do this? As an April Fool's joke?
Sort of. Gmail Paper - Print Your Messages for Free
posted by Akeem at 12:47 AM on June 12


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