Definition[edit | edit source]

The Streisand effect is a phenomenon on the Internet where an attempt to censor or remove a piece of information backfires, causing the information to be even more widely publicized. Examples of such attempts include censoring a photograph, a confidential number, a file, or a website (for example via a cease-and-desist letter). Instead of being suppressed, the information quickly receives extensive publicity, often being widely mirrored across the Internet, or distributed on file-sharing networks.[1]

Overview[edit | edit source]

The name is taken from a 2003 incident in which the singer and actress Barbra Streisand sued photographer Kenneth Adelman and for US$50 million in an attempt to have the aerial photo of her house removed from the publicly available collection of 12,000 California coastline photographs, citing privacy concerns, only to see the matter become far more prominent as a result.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. David Canton, "Today's Business Law: Attempt to Suppress Can Backfire," London Free Press (Nov. 5, 2005) (full-text).

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