All Streisand Effects Considered

from the drive-time-radio dept

The Streisand Effect is getting a bit more coverage these days. After the Associated Press mentioned it the other day, I got to sit down and talk with Robert Siegel for today’s “All Things Considered” where we discussed The Streisand Effect starting with the Wikileaks case and moving on to some other cases where the Effect clearly made an appearance. If this keeps up, maybe we can look forward to a day when lawyers think twice about trying to force perfectly legitimate content offline.

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Comments on “All Streisand Effects Considered”

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20 Comments
Moogle says:

Re: Re:

Well, sure, lawyers can do what’s legal, and even what isn’t. The point is that what they do will not necessarily accomplish what they want.

“Do” entails suing people, making a stink, etc. Removing something from the public eye isn’t something you can do, it’s a possible and as we’re seeing somewhat unlikely outcome of what someone can “do”.

It’s very important to realize that the legal system has no say about what’s right or wrong. It can only attempt to influence behavior by attaching more results to an action. In this case, there’s not much point to changing a law, because the attempted behavior by lawyers had the worst possible outcome for their client in this case – news agencies all over the world are talking ABOUT wikileaks.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Kudos

Likewise, mike, all things considered is an excellent distribution platform for the term. And the term functions well as a solid codification of the idea, which in turn solidifies people’s understanding of the term and the effect. Way to go in creating an idea which will live on long after you, and heres to hoping you can create more! And here’s to hoping it ends up as the trendy word of the year alongside truthiness et al

John Vore (user link) says:

I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve paid a lot of money to lawyers to cover intellectual property, from trademark to copyright to a patent attempt.

The basics, as I understand them are this: if you don’t actively protect your intellectual property, if someone comes in and steals something, in court you can lose the case. “Use it or lose it,” is, to my understanding the “rule,” here. So while these incidents may seem trivial to outsiders, the way i.p. works in the United States makes it necessary to go after trivial stuff in order to avoid having to fight a major battle later on.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t other reasons at work–and it does not address Ms. Streisand’s concern. She’s a public figure–and there’s the key on that tangent: “public”–meaning she goes on stage to make money. And she has people who manage her public image. I doubt any of them live in her home, and I doubt her home is someplace where she rakes in the dollars.

We need to think through all of these ideas very thoroughly as our technologies become more and more ubiquitous…in the least, we need to adjust our expectations and realize that in the now-future, everyone is a potential public figure just waiting to happen…

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re:


The basics, as I understand them are this: if you don’t actively protect your intellectual property, if someone comes in and steals something, in court you can lose the case. “Use it or lose it,” is, to my understanding the “rule,” here.

There are a few points here. First off, the Streisand Effect isn’t just about intellectual property claims. In fact most recent examples (such as the wikileaks case) are not. Second, as I was just discussing the other day, the “use it or lose it” claim is not quite accurate.

First, it does not apply to copyright or patents. The only area where it sort of applies is trademark. But the issue there isn’t that you *have* to sue everyone (or threaten to sue everyone) but that you need to make reasonable efforts to prevent the mark from becoming generic. That doesn’t mean suing everyone.

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