Inside the 2014 World Series Homeland Security Panty Raid

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You may recall that just before the 2014 World Series Department of Homeland Security agents raided a small clothing store in Kansas City because it was committing the heinous crime of . . . selling panties with an unauthorized Royals logo on them. Like, an actual raid by law enforcement with confiscations and the whole deal.

At the time we noted how crazy it was that government agents were out there enforcing private copyrights like it was a criminal matter. We noted that, for most of our history, copyrights were enforced through the civil justice system, not by a unit of government agents dedicated to fighting “intellectual property crime.” A unit that was created at the behest of entertainment companies, not because there was any sort of public outcry or criminal scourge imperiling the general peace and welfare, but because the government is, apparently, supposed to proactively protect corporate profits, not just impose penalties for the violation of a law after the fact. Protect those profits, by the way, via use of the same governmental department which is tasked with leading the fight against terrorism.

That whole episode was quickly forgotten by most. But it wasn’t forgotten by Aaron Gordon of Vice Sports. He sent out Freedom of Information Act requests about the incident. FOIA requests, it should be noted, that the government sat on forever because that’s just how the government treats FOIA requests specifically and transparency of operations in general these days. He finally got his documents, however, and he presents his findings today.

Go read Gordon’s story, where the documents are produced. Know, in the meantime, however, that a lot of taxpayer money and a lot of wrongheaded effort was expended to address what appears to be about $40 in phony Kansas City Royals panties. Then ask yourself, why on Earth this wasn’t a matter for the courts, following a copyright infringement suit, as opposed to a matter for armed law enforcement raiding businesses.