The Phenomenon Wherein Trying To Hide Information Makes It More Public Is Known As?
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Back in 2002, photographer Kenneth Adelman undertook a massive project wherein he photographed the California coastline in a series of 12,000 photographs. The purpose of the exercise was to document coastal erosion for the California Coastal Records Project, a government-sanctioned project focused on preserving the state’s massive coastline.
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In 2003, when it came to the singer’s attention that her home was displayed on the CCRP’s website, her lawyers drafted a lawsuit and sued the photographer, the site displaying the images (Pictopia.com), and even the server company hosting the actual files (Layer42). The total damages sought were for $50,000,000.
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Two years later in 2005, Mike Masnick, CEO and founder of the Techdirt blog, immortalized the whole affair when he wrote:
How long is it going to take before lawyers realize that the simple act of trying to repress something they don’t like online is likely to make it so that something that most people would never, ever see (like a photo of a urinal in some random beach resort) is now seen by many more people? Let’s call it the Streisand Effect.
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An interesting addition to the genre of Unintended Consequences?