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“Paperless” vs “Digital” and “Terror” vs “Ordinary Damage”

Two stories this week in the Wall Street Journal illustrate once again how critical the choice of a category can be. A story titled "Scalpers Beware: New Laws Redefine What is a Ticket" ( on.wsj.com/15HpNkN ) reports that California's state legislature just voted to preserve the concept of the "paperless" ticket that can be redeemed only at the venue by the purchaser with the credit card used to buy it. This is the "Screw Stubhub Act" designed to prevent ticket resales, and the law contrasts "paperless" with "digital" tickets, which are receipts with QR codes that are scanned to gain entry to the event. They never exist on paper but according to the law they are not paperless. The key difference is that digital tickets can be resold, and Ticketmaster doesn't like that.

The second story, titled 'Terror' Threatens Insurance Payouts ( on.wsj.com/ZJusPo ), reports that the Boston businesses that suffered damage from the Marathon bombs are arguing that the bombings were not an act of terror, even though Obama and others have called them that. The reason it matters is that after the Sept 11 2001 "acts of terror" insurance companies changed their policies so that "terrorism coverage" was extra since it was a qualitatively different kind of incident than your ordinary fire or other property casualty that might damage a business. So if government makes an official categorization that was happened in Boston was terrorism, most businesses won't get their damages covered because few of them paid the extra premiums.

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