Because Colton Harris-Moore, the young man whose now-legendary criminal exploits have captivated the world, no longer owns the rights to his story.
A new indictment filed in U.S. District Court today by federal prosecutors adds an additional charge to Harris-Moore's sizable list of alleged crimes. It also argues that the federal government is owed all proceeds from from any films, books or other money-making ventures that are produced from Harris-Moore's story.
In the indictment filed in U.S. District Court at Seattle, federal prosecutors claim the government is owed the rights to any "intellectual property" related to the crime. That would mean he couldn't profit by selling his story for a book or movie, for instance.
On the surface, the motion seems sound. Why should a criminal be able to profit from his crimes?
But at the same time, who says that the federal government now owns the rights to the Barefoot Bandit story? If the resulting story is the gripping tale of the dedicated FBI agent who risked his safety and personal relationship with his family in order to track Harris-Moore from state to state and country to country, then OK.
But that's not the story people want to see and it's not the story that will be produced.
Here's a better idea: All money made from the sale of Harris-Moore's story should go directly back to the countless victims who saw their planes crashed, cars stolen and cereal eaten.
And frankly, Harris-Moore deserves at least enough of a cut to pay for his lawyer.
It is his story after all (criminal as it might be). And this is America, where, as Microsoft has taught us, selling "intellectual rights" has replaced selling just about anything else as a means for making money.