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I Made Copies
"The great thing about lawyers is, they make LOTS of copies."
Chris McLean, Total Drama Island

Bob realizes that he was caught into some type of trap or blackmail. Unfortunately, he has signed a contract. Bob goes to Alice, who tricked him and demands what the problem is. Alice points out all of the obvious not obvious statements in the contract, which leads Bob to rip up the contract in Alice's face. Alice's not too mad about it, since she made tons of copies. If used for blackmail or media release, this can be used in by a significantly Genre Savvy character to avert the Genre Blind response to Have You Told Anyone Else?. In pre-digital media involving blackmail photos, expect the blackmailer to say something like "I have the negatives."

When this happens with a character, see Expendable Clone.

Examples

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     Film 
  • Colonel Mustard and Wadsworth engage in this in the film Clue. Ultimately subverted, however, as the negatives are later destroyed.

     Newspaper Comics 
  • Dilbert has Mordac the Refuser telling Wally he wishes to discuss Wally's request for a computer upgrade. Mordac then proceeds to eat Wally's request right there and tells Wally they lost the paperwork. Wally proceeds to pull an entire pile of paper out of his desk saying he's glad he made seventy five extra copies.

     Literature 
  • In Dracula, the Count breaks into the heroes' headquarters and burns the Scrapbook Story they've been keeping of the ordeal. How is the reader still able to read it? They had a backup copy in a safe. All this before the days of hard drives!

     Live Action TV 
  • Blackadder II played with this. When blackmailing the Baby-Eating Bishop of Bath and Wells by showing him the paintings made of him and Percy in a sexual romp, the Bishop attempts to destroy them. Blackadder stops him, telling him that "We have the preliminary sketches."
  • In It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Mac tries to settle Dee's contract dispute by eating her only copy of the contract. When the Lawyer reveals that he now owns the deed to all of Paddy's merchandising, Mac snatches the deed and eats it. The Lawyer just laughs and says he's made hundreds of copies.
  • Dukes Of Hazzard: Boss Hogg once ate such a contract.
  • On Angel, Wesley burns Lilah's contract with Wolfram & Hart, only for a fresh copy to immediately appear in the drawer.
  • At the end of I, Claudius, we see Nero and his mother burning Claudius's autobiography. Fortunately he made a copy and buried it.
  • Happens in I Love Lucy when Lucy tears up a paper saying that she would agree not to overspend, Ricky then pulls out a copy saying, "I made a copy."
    • In another episode, Ricky and the Mertzes burn the novel Lucy wrote starring insulting caricatures of all them. Lucy laments, "If I'd known the type of people I was dealing with, I'd have made a carbon copy"... before smiling and saying smugly, "It just so happens, I do know the type of people that I'm dealing with." She then proceeds to collect the three other copies hidden in various places around the room.
  • In Veronica Mars, when Weevil shows the blackmail material he has on the Fitzpatricks to "save" the PC Hers. When asked if he made copies he replies "Lots of them!" and comments that now the Fitzpatricks will have to keep him safe to stop them getting out.
  • Frank Drebin in Police Squad!! does a Genre Savvy twist on this. In one case he has only a photostat (copy) of a piece of evidence, and the copy isn't admissible. So he instead cons the Big Bad by freely offering him the photostat as proof that he does actually have the evidence.

     Video Games 
  • In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness episode 5 Maderas sends a challege to Laharl to contend for overlordship on the back of a embarrassing photo, he threatens to scatter copies of set photo all across the Netheroworld if Laharl does not comply.

     Western Animation 
  • In the Regular Show, Benson realizes that Peeps is pretty awkward around the house. That prompts him to call and demands a refund. Peeps shows him the contract and points out all the loopholes he missed. Benson begins to get angry and tears up the contract. Peeps only laughs and mentions he made copies.
  • In the first episode of Total Drama Island, Gwen tears up her contract when she finds out what the competition will really be like. Naturally, Chris is prepared for this.
  • Sponge Bob Square Pants: SpongeBob and Patrick were having a snowball fight and Squidward, having nothing better to do, wanted to watch. But as soon as he did, they signed a peace treaty. Squidward tore it up...
    SpongeBob: That wasn't the peace treaty. That was a copy of the peace treaty.

     Real Life 
  • In American universities, it's standard practice for graders to make photocopies of tests and assignments before returning them to students since students have been known to alter their answers and appeal for a better grade.
  • Similar to the above, many universities or schools will make a policy of not returning final examinations to students for a set length of time. Grades will be made available and students allowed to review their scores with the instructor (by request), but the actual examination is required to remain on file until the student no longer has the option of appealing.
  • Truth in Television: Lawyers will always have a copy of whatever document someone wishes didn't exist. Corporations and certain other entities are required to keep documentation of their activities for a certain period of time, which is very useful if you're the party doing the "blackmailing" (i.e., suing).
  • Intelligence agencies attempt to avert this trope as much as possible. In an emergency situation, such as an attack against an embassy, at least one person will be tasked with destroying as much documentation as possible, continuing even if the walls come down.


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