Paper That Keeps Secrets From Photocopiers

For three decades, newsletter publishers and government censors have shared a common obsession: thwarting illicit photocopying of their pricey or secret information. Using blue paper was the first solution, and many other ink and paper colors have been tried--only to fall prey to newer copiers.

Now, Japan's Kiso Chemical Corp. believes it has found a lasting answer: a "secrets paper," dubbed KSP, that is protected by a very thin film of evaporated aluminum. The metal coating deflects and scatters a copier's light so that the machine can't distinguish between type and background. Feed the bronze-color sheets into a photocopier, and out will come all-black copies. The main drawback is cost: KSP's introductory price is about $1 per sheet, far more than regular paper, though that will drop with volume production. Still, the Osaka-based company expects to sell $2 million worth of KSP the first year and sees demand tripling by 1995.