Wednesday, 14 October 2009
Yes I know this is wikipedia, but it was the best I could do on a busy morning.
The Streisand effect is an Internet phenomenon where an attempt to censor or remove a piece of information backfires, causing the information to be publicized widely and to a greater extent than would have occurred if no censorship had been attempted. Examples of such attempts include censoring a photograph, a number, a file, or a website (for example via a cease-and-desist letter). Instead of being suppressed, the information receives extensive publicity, often being widely mirrored across the Internet, or distributed on file-sharing networks.
3 See also
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Mike Masnick originally coined the term Streisand effect in reference to a 2003 incident in which Barbra Streisand sued photographer Kenneth Adelman and Pictopia.com for US$50 million in an attempt to have the aerial photograph of her house removed from the publicly available collection of 12,000 California coastline photographs, citing privacy concerns. Adelman stated that he was photographing beachfront property to document coastal erosion as part of the California Coastal Records Project. As a result of the case, public knowledge of the picture increased substantially and it became popular on the Internet, with more than 420,000 people visiting the site over the next month.
In April 2007, an attempt at blocking an AACS key from being published on Digg caused uproar when cease-and-desist letters demanded that the code be removed from several high-profile Web sites. This led to the key's proliferation across other web sites and chat rooms, in various formats, with one commentator describing it as having become "the most famous number on the Internet". Within a month, the key had been reprinted on over 280,000 pages, and had appeared in a song on YouTube which had been played over 45,000 times.
In April 2007, Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand, was portrayed with feet superimposed over his head, an act extremely offensive to many Thai people, in a video posted by a YouTube user named "Padidda". The Thai government banned the site for lèse majesté, and many other YouTube users responded by posting other clips even more offensive to Bhumibol, leading to tens of thousands of views.
In September 2006, video clips portraying paparazzi footage of Brazilian television personality Daniela Cicarelli having sex with her boyfriend on a beach in Spain were uploaded to YouTube. Court injunctions, which culminated in the temporary blocking of YouTube in Brazil, proved unsuccessful in preventing the spread of the video.
On December 5, 2008, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) added the Wikipedia article Virgin Killer to a child pornography blacklist, considering the album's cover art "a potentially illegal indecent image of a child under the age of 18". The article quickly became one of the most popular pages on the site, and the publicity surrounding the censorship resulted in the image being spread across other sites. The IWF were later reported on the BBC News website to have said "IWF's overriding objective is to minimise the availability of indecent images of children on the Internet, however, on this occasion our efforts have had the opposite effect". This effect was also noted by the IWF in their statement about the removal of the URL from the black list.
In early April 2008, The Church of Scientology's unsuccessful attempts to get Internet websites to delete a video of Tom Cruise speaking about Scientology resulted in the creation of Project Chanology. Similarly, the church attempted to remove a series of Operating Thetan (OT) document leaks from Wikileaks. Wikileaks responded by vowing to "release several thousand additional pages of Scientology material next week".
In September 2009, the Photoshop Disasters blog posted an advertisement from Polo Ralph Lauren that contained a heavily manipulated image of a female model. The post was subsequently reprinted by BoingBoing. Ralph Lauren issued DMCA takedown notices to BoingBoing's ISP and Blogspot, which hosts Photoshop Disasters, claiming their use of the image infringed copyright. Blogspot complied, but BoingBoing's ISP consulted with BoingBoing and agreed that the image was fair use. As a result, BoingBoing issued a mocking rebuttal, using the same image again and posting the takedown notice. The rebuttal was widely reported, including on frequently viewed websites such as The Huffington Post and ABC News.
On 12 October 2009, Trafigura instructed Carter-Ruck solicitors to seek an injunction preventing The Guardian newspaper from publishing a parliamentary question relating to the 2006 Côte d'Ivoire toxic waste dump scandal. The Guardian published a brief story about the injunction which led bloggers and others to track down the story and it was widely republished across the internet, became the top trending topic on Twitter and led to further questions in Parliament