A video posted online by the New York Times uses transcripts from a legal deposition to recreate “an absurd argument about the definition of a photocopier.”

The short clip, part of the Times’ “Verbatim” series, is based off of a 2010 case where the Cuyahoga County Recorder’s office in Ohio was sued for charging two-dollars per page for photocopies of public documents.

A dramatization based off transcripts from a legal deposition shows a lawyer "become embroiled in an absurd argument about the definition of a photocopier." (Image source: Screen grab via Vimeo)

A dramatization based off transcripts from a legal deposition shows a lawyer “become embroiled in an absurd argument about the definition of a photocopier.” (Image source: Screen grab via Vimeo)

In the dramatization, which employs the dialogue verbatim from the transcripts, a lawyer becomes embroiled in a debate with an IT administrator, who refuses to say whether the office he worked at was equipped with a photocopier.

“When you say photocopy machine, what do you mean?” he asks the lawyer deposing him in the video.

“When you say photocopy machine, what do you mean?”
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“Let me make sure I understand your question. You don’t have an understanding of what a photocopy machine is?” the stunned lawyer responds.

“No, I want to make sure I answer your question correctly,” the administrator replies.

The IT professional’s lawyer then interjects, saying he wants to “object to the tone of the question.”

“You make it sound like it’s unbelievable to you that he wouldn’t know the definition of a photocopy machine is,” he says.

The clip continues for several minutes, with the parties going back and forth over the definition of a photocopy machine. It was uploaded by the Times last month, but wasn’t widely circulated until Tuesday when it received nearly 40,000 views.

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