Quoted in style

The practice of bracketing in direct quotes continues to confuse and amuse. Here’s one of the picayune variety:

“Over the last couple [of] years, we’ve had some questions raised over customer etiquette, especially cell phones,” said Regal spokeswoman Karen Lane.

The AP Stylebook does recommend “of” after “couple” in constructions like this one. But the person quoted didn’t say it that way. Should we correct direct quotes to get them to conform to style? If we do, why not go all the way and redo the quote this way:

“During the past couple of years, we’ve had some questions raised about customer etiquette, especially cell phones.”

Getting back to the story, more curiosity follows:

“And … [piracy] is something that’s a big concern within the industry.”

I’m guessing that the bracket here is in place of a pronoun, but what was said between “and” and that insertion? Ellipses always make me wonder what was removed — and why.

This and more bracketing discussion here.