20 January 2012

The Raid on MegaUpload: An Analogy

Scene: two cops are talking to each other outside of a Bob's U-Stor-It.

Cop 1:
"So some units in this storage facility are being used to hold cheap knockoffs of luxury goods?"

Cop 2:
"Yeah - fake Gucci bags, fake Prada shoes, and a bunch of other stuff. Weird thing is, people aren't selling any of it - they're just giving it away."

Cop 1:
"That is weird. Well, we can't have them giving these knockoffs away. They'll undercut the profits of the people who are making the real things - because why would you buy a real Gucci bag when there's a fake one available for free that looks half as good?

Cop 2:
"You make a persuasive economic argument. There's a complication, though: there's a bunch of people who are just storing their own possessions in the facility, and it's going to be a lot of trouble to sort out who is who, which storage units belong to which people, all that."

Cop 1:
"Well, if it's going to be complicated telling apart the innocent citizens from the guys who are giving away knockoff handbags, let's just burn the whole facility to the ground and arrest the people who own it."

Cop 2:
"But what about the personal possessions of the people who were just using as a storage facility?"

Cop 1:
"If they wanted their belongings to be safe, they should have kept them in the glass-walled containers we've set up inside the police station."

Cop 2:
"You're right, that's what they should have done. But what will we arrest the facility's owners for?"

Cop 1:
"They sold billboard space on top of their building. Some of the people who were giving away the knockoffs must have seen the billboards, which means the people who own the facility profited off of the knockoffs. That means that they committed a criminal conspiracy."

Cop 2:
"Still, that can't be more than a few grand, right?"

Cop 1:
"Nah, we'll prosecute them for the full amount that the knockoffs would have been worth if they were the real things and they'd been stolen directly from the fashion houses."

Cop 2:
"That makes sense. Flame on!"

Cop 1:
"That's hot."

They destroy the entire facility.

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