19 February 2008

Bank Julius Baer, Meet Barbra Streisand

One of the claims to fame of Techdirt's Mike Masnick is for coining the phrase "the Streisand effect":

The phenomenon takes its name from Barbra Streisand, who made her own ill-fated attempt at reining in the Web in 2003. That's when environmental activist Kenneth Adelman posted aerial photos of Streisand's Malibu beach house on his Web site as part of an environmental survey, and she responded by suing him for $50 million. Until the lawsuit, few people had spotted Streisand's house, Adelman says--but the lawsuit brought more than a million visitors to Adelman's Web site, he estimates. Streisand's case was dismissed, and Adelman's photo was picked up by the Associated Press and reprinted in newspapers around the world.

So attempts by the Bank Julius Baer to shut down the Wikileaks site are not only doomed, but doomed to make things much, much worse than if the bank had just put up with it. Fighting openness is just not a good idea.


Samir Chopra said...

I must say, Judge White's ruling in this case is one of the most overly-broad injunctions I have ever seen.

Amazing stuff.

Glyn Moody said...

Indeed: this one will run and run....