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MPAA, meet the Streisand effect: Picture ass. slaps Reddit with takedown

Would-be pirates flock to r/FullLengthFilms

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The Motion Picture Ass. of America has shot itself in the foot by issuing a copyright takedown notice against a corner of Reddit – and promptly turned a virtually unused subredit into a popular forum.

The discussion board, /r/FullLengthFilms, is a place for Redditors to post links to films available for streaming or download, and typically scores about 2,500 unique visitors a day. While some of the linked films could be legally downloaded, there's also a contingent of movies that can be streamed or downloaded illegally.

Some bright spark at the MPAA got wind of this and issued a takedown notice – obtained by Torrentfreak – against the subreddit after a link appeared to a copy of the 2010 film Edge of Darkness, which was adapted from the British TV series of the same name.

Reddit is one of the planet's largest and more vigorous online communities and when news of the takedown broke, users went a little nuts – as did the traffic to /r/FullLengthFilms. Its moderator reports that site traffic nearly quadrupled in a day and the number of people subscribing to the site skyrocketed.

Reddit film forum traffic

The Streisand effect in action

"For those commenting on how the MPAA is merely shining light on, what I personally considered a dead subreddit... you are not wrong," the moderator posted, along with statistics on the subreddit's traffic.

However, the renewed interest in the site has had one positive effect from the MPAA's point of view. New moderators have been recruited to try and clean up the forum and remove pirated content. The downside is there is also a lot of people posting illicit material, and Google has turned down the MPAA's request to delist the website.

It's a difficult conundrum for the MPAA. On one level the assoication has a duty to its paymasters to track down and stop illegal content sharing, but in cases like this the group appears to have done more harm than good. ®

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