I recently met some guys in a coffee shop to hear their idea, and before we talked about their idea, they asked me to sign an NDA. They had two printed copies, and we each signed both, and then we moved on.
I've done this many times for many different kinds of documents. I can't be the only person that hates having to hold on to to these magic pieces of paper, and hates having to scan for anything silly in the terms.
I'm thinking about building a web app for this situation. Paying subscribers would be allowed to pick a template from a list of legal-document templates by answering a few questions about the nature of the agreement they want.
Think about how the creative commons site works with software licenses -- you answer simple questions and they point you to the license that is appropriate. You don't write your own license. I'd use a similar approach. I'd create templates with version numbers and release the document templates under some open-source license.
Instead of using a goose quill feather dipped in squid ink to sign some parchment, people would authenticate with the web app, see the documents they are invited to sign, and then decide what to do.
The advantages here are:
all documents are backed up online, so I don't have to keep that drawer full of magic paper.
no need to review for weird clauses in the documents, since the documents are only using templates, all available for offline review.
we all get access to well-written legal documents without paying some a-hole attorneys $200/hour to run find-and-replace on Microsoft Word.
I'd probably charge a non-trivial amount for the right to authenticate with the web app, and the initial signup would be fairly elaborate, since the webapp really needs to make sure you are who you say you are.
And anyone anywhere would be allowed to just grab the templates and print them out, and use those the old-fashioned way.
Of course, then there's no on-line backup and no guarantee that some weird little clause hasn't snuck in somewhere.
If this already exists, great! Just let me know where.
Otherwise, would people here pay for this?