How am I supposed to print my print-at-home tickets if I can’t reproduce them?


I ordered some tickets online and was sent to a Web page which displayed the tickets (with bar codes and stuff), with instructions to print them out.

The Web page also had this big warning on it:

IT IS UNLAWFUL TO REPRODUCE THIS TICKET IN ANY FORM.

Um, this is a print-at-home ticket. The entire reason for its existence is to be reproduced in printed form.

I printed it anyway.

Nobody arrested me.

Comments (26)
  1. Boris says:

    No, because you’re reproducing only the ticket description, not the ticket itself, which in this case exists only once electronically.

    1. DWalker07 says:

      @Boris, I don’t think that is what the warning means. By printing the ticket, you ARE reproducing the ticket (onto paper, from the electronic bit form).

      1. Boris says:

        Ok, I searched for Raymond’s sentence and it seems to be standard boilerplate, which is often accompanied by a note saying that the issuer can refuse entry to any candidate-holder if they detect multiple attempts at scanning the same ticket. The issue is obviously reproduction with the intent to steal entry; that’s not the same as printing a hardcopy for yourself while keeping it on your smartphone as backup. (I’m not a legal expert, so if someone has more detailed knowledge of the issues involved, please feel free to comment.)

        1. morlamweb says:

          @Boris: some events require a paper ticket and do not allow the use of e-tickets for entry. I attended one such concert last summer. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same legal boilerplate were on the ticket. The only “legal” recourse in such cases would be a will-call window or mailing paper tickets (not that it stopped the thousands of attendees at the concert from printing them out).

    2. zboot says:

      @Boris – in the scenario you describe, how does one reproduce the ticket itself?

      1. Boris says:

        By trying to use it more than once. I would argue that you’re only producing the ticket by printing it out, not reproducing it, and even if you print out multiple copies and store one on your smartphone as PDF, that’s just the nature of the electronic ticket — it’s polymorphic. None of that counts as reproduction.

        On the other hand, a classic, paper-only ticket has only one form and instance, so any attempt to make a copy would be unauthorized, but with electronic tickets, reproduction would have to be defined as an attempt at using it more than once.

        1. Yuri Khan says:

          Next thing you’re going to argue that ripping music CDs and decrypting movie DVDs doesn’t count as reproduction ;)

          1. Boris says:

            But those are explicitly contrasted with a clearly defined, expected way of perusing that content. What is explicitly forbidden here and what is the right way of doing it?

            I can usually choose to get the QR code scanned via iPhone or a hardcopy. The same goes for electronic plane tickets.

          2. Boris says:

            Also, it’s a false analogy. Reproducing content on CDs or DVDs can lead to not buying the same content in multiple formats, or even the same format when the content is made available to people who haven’t spent money on it. Reproducing an electronic ticket merely gives you more paper or files, with no added value (in terms of entry) for yourself or others.

        2. zboot says:

          This makes no sense. If you have an electronic ticket, and you use it, whether electronically or a print out, that ticket is redeemed. It is impossible for anyone to further use another copy. So, there’s no need to ban trying to use it more than once. It’s like banning eating a McDonald’s sandwich more than once.

  2. nathan_works says:

    and what was the surcharge/handling fee for the convenience of printing your own ticket ? ;)

  3. Brian says:

    I sure wish that those ticket images had an option to “print without ads” (as do American Airlines boarding passes). Every time I print those things, I believe HP’s stock ticks up a notch.

    1. Brian_EE says:

      It’s called “Print to PDF” or “Save to PDF” in your browser’s print menu. Then you open the PDF, and print to the printer with the “Print this view” instead of whole page. Also turn off “fit to page” scaling.

      1. Meh, that’s overcomplicated. Just use adblock or F12 to delete the ad in the browser before printing. (Unless they generate a PDF, in which case you can still cover it up, you just have to use something like PDFEscape.)

  4. cheong00 says:

    I know! They want you to keep the browser open. And when you go to the place requiring the ticket, you “remote desktop” to your desktop on your phone and show it. Maybe it’s better to order the ticket on your phone next time. [/joke]

    1. Boris says:

      But then you’d be “reproducing” it onto your phone screen.

      1. cheong00 says:

        The point is you’re not reproducing the ticket by merely showing it on screen, much like you can photo $10 bill on a table with your phone camera and you’re not reproducing money.

        On the other hand, if you save the page on disk you could be reproducing it, but the generated ticket page itself is produced by the ticketing company’s server so you’re not reproducing it.

        ===
        I found that word choice “reproduce” here interesting too. Since “produce” can mean just to “bring forward something to somebody” and “reproduce” can mean “show something again”, maybe it means you cannot show the same ticket twice to the staffs. :P

  5. o.marco says:

    I’m going to inform the police so they can bring you to jail :)

  6. Sir_Derlin says:

    I recently had a donut shop email me a coupon. The email had a link to a hosted image of the coupon I could print. The coupon text said “Internet distribution strictly prohibited”. Whoops!

    1. smf says:

      > “Internet distribution strictly prohibited”

      You didn’t distribute it, you downloaded it. Although if it was made available by bittorrent, then you can’t avoid distributing it when you download.

  7. Tymme says:

    Sounds like your lucky day… you should go rip the tags off your mattresses while you’re ahead.

    1. morlamweb says:

      @Tymme: most of those mattress tags now state “not to be removed under penalty of law except by the consumer”, so legally, you’re safe to remove them.

  8. Chet says:

    There’s a similar conflict between the GNU General Public License and installers that won’t proceed when you refuse to accept the licensing terms.

    GPLv2: “You are not required to accept this License, since you have not signed it.”

    GPLv3: “You are not required to accept this License in order to receive or run a copy of the Program.”

    If the installer followed the terms of the license, a user should be able to decline the license and install (and use) the software anyways.

    (For context, the GPL grants additional rights, saying that you may redistribute the software as long as you provide a copy of the source code. If you reject the license then copyright law prohibits redistribution but you can still use the software yourself.)

    1. Yuri Khan says:

      You are not required to use the installer, either. When you run the installer, you have already received the program, and so are entitled to requesting its source, which you can then compile.

      Receiving, installing and running the GPL-licensed compiler without accepting the GPL is left as an exercise for the reader.

  9. gajamapataw says:

    > How am I supposed to print my print-at-home tickets if I can’t reproduce them?

    How, it’s easy-peasy. You can produce them (i.e. print them) in the first place, you just are not allowed to re-produce them (i.e. print them again).

  10. Pete says:

    Nobody arrested you yet.

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