What Is a Photocopier?

YouTube / The New York Times
YouTube / The New York Times / YouTube / The New York Times

The New York Times has begun a fun new video segment called Verbatim. In it, the Times digs up ridiculous, real testimony from court cases, and performs it, verbatim, on video.

In the first installment, below, we have seven minutes in which a man attempts to evade the seemingly basic question, "Do you have a photocopier in your office?" There is something maddening, hilarious, and brilliant about this. Sample quote (by the interrogating lawyer, to the man trying to avoid acknowledging anything regarding photocopiers): "If you feel stupid, it's not because I'm making you feel that way."

Even more interesting is the context behind this exchange (warning: a video auto-plays on that page).

Long story short, a county in Ohio changed its policy about copying records, which cut off access to digital versions; instead, the county offered printed records at a rather stiff $2/page. Companies that had previously harvested public data en masse were now blocked. The exchange above is with the IT administrator (!) of Ohio's Cuyahoga County Recorder’s Office. The last line of the explanation of the case is priceless. You can also read the transcript if you like (this particular deposition is way down, but the PDF is searchable).