In a letter received by Speed of Light postmarked February 3rd, 2014, the authors of The Federalist Papers contend Facebook’s latest iPhone app, Paper, should be renamed. The authors, appearing under the pseudonym Publius, write:
It has been frequently remarked, that it seems to have been reserved to the creators of Facebook, by their conduct and example, they might choose to appropriate the name Paper for their own devices. We would like to see that changed.
The authors, predicting the counter-argument that the name “paper” is a common noun, write:
Every story has a name. Despite the fact the word “paper” is indeed a generic term, and despite the fact the original name of our work was simply The Federalist (Papers was later appended by somebody else), we nonetheless feel because our work was published first, we are entitled to the name Paper. The Federalist Papers have been circulating for more than two centuries, so clearly, we have a right to the name.
The polemic towards Facebook seems to be impelled by Facebook’s specific choice of title and location:
It is especially insulting since Facebook has chosen to launch Paper exclusively in America, where each of its citizens is well aware and well versed in the materials of The Federalist Papers. It is as though they believe citizens will be unaware of the source material from which Facebook Paper is inspired. This nation’s citizens are active participants in the nation’s affairs, and this move by Facebook is offensive to the very concept.
Publius provide a simple solution:
We believe it is the right of every citizen of this nation to have creative freedoms and that’s why we kindly ask Facebook to be creative and not use our name.