Linear elastic fracture mechanics modified to account for an effective fracture process zone is sufficient to characterize and predict fracture resistance for a wide range of papers. The simplicity of the method, which only requires the tensile strength and a measure of the effective fracture process zone length, gives it great advantage over other existing approaches. The results presented here show that for a wide range of commercial papers, samples widths as narrow as 50 mm are sufficient to determine the effective process zone length, and that scaling holds well enough to allow prediction for fracture of wide webs. The results indicate that the tensile strength of paper is a result of a fracture process where the defect is most typically induced from cutting the network structure along the edges. As a consequence, the inherent tensile strength of the network can be significantly larger than the measured tensile strength. The effective fracture process zone length parameter is taken as a measure of the inability for the paper to concentrate load near the crack tip. This ability for network structures to concentrate load has significant impact on the fracture resistance of the sheet relative to its tensile strength.