Peru’s state property rights agency on Tuesday crushed 50,000 pirated music CDs with a steamroller on a Lima street as part of a plan to deter a rampant trade in counterfeit goods. Musicians and singers danced atop the pile of thousands of compact discs protesting pirating that the government says inhibits artistic creativity and starves a cash-strapped state of needed taxes.

Peru has gone on the offensive against piracy. Not only did the steamroller destroy CDs and videos, but also chewing gum. Pirated chewing gum? I suppose they’re talking about trademark or trade dress infringement, but unless the chewing gum is actually stolen (of which there’s no indication), it seems a little silly to steamroll it. In fact, even if it were stolen, steamrolling wouldn’t be the best option. Wouldn’t it jam up the roller?

But what do I know?

The article also claims that the steamrolling saved the industry $750,000. This probably means that the materials destroyed, had they been sold at monopoly prices (i.e., by the copyright holders), would have resulted in profits of $750,000. Of course, just given simple economics, there’s no way the same quantity of stuff would have been sold at the higher price. Nor is there anything to suggest that destroying this pile of stuff made an appreciable dent in the supply of pirated goods. It’s all faintly reminiscent of the drug busts that occur on a daily basis here in the United States.

But there’s got to be some better solution than this.