One of my favorite blogs is Photoshop Disasters.  It’s a blog full of egregious Photoshop goofs like this one where somehow the Victoria Secret model lost a leg and and is about to fall over.

The other day, they ran this picture of a Ralph Lauren Polo (heretofore referred to affectionately as “Ralph”) ad.  Whoa, that girl needs a sammich!


Not long after, Boing Boing posted

Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster film

about the Photoshop Disaster.  Needless to say, Ralph wasn’t too happy about getting called out for their awful photo manipulation (well, let’s hope it was a manipulation!).  So they did what any smart company would do and sent DMCA take down notices to both blogs to have the pictures removed.

Big mistake.

Photoshop Disaster’s ISP automatically takes down any image they get a DMCA notice for.  Boing Boing’s doesn’t.  Both blogs immediately blogged about the take down notices, Boing Boing even re-ran the image.  Both blogs mocked Ralph Lauren Polo for the notices and Boing Boing even offered to feed their models if they ever happen to drop in for a visit.

Now RLP isn’t dealing with month old posts that were probably buried and forgotten–they’re dealing with new posts that are re-running the image.  I’m not a lawyer, so I’m not going to get into the specifics of whether RLP has a case in the notices, but the damage done isn’t legal.

What happened next is that the new posts garnered all kinds of attention, not because of the model in the picture, but because of the take down notices.

And it gets worse for Ralph.   Last night, the kerfuffle was the top story on the Yahoo! front page (sadly I didn’t get a screen shot).  The Yahoo! front page is one of the most visited pages on the internet with over 400 MILLION people per month dropping by.  Certainly more action than PsD and Boing Boing get.

So now, instead of PsD readers and Boing Boing readers seeing what was pretty much a throw away post for both blogs, the entire world is getting treated to the gloriously skinny model.

There’s actually a name for this phenomenon: The Streisand Effect.  In 2003, Babs sued a photographer for $50MM for invasion of privacy over a photo he published of her bluff top Malibu mansion as part of an aerial photography series on coastal erosion. The photo garnered more attention as a result of her lawsuit than it ever would have on it’s own.  Now Babs has a phenomenon named after her.

Had Ralph just let it go, nobody would have known.  But now, everyone knows.

Nice work, Ralph.

Lesson Learned: Sometimes it’s best to just do nothing.  And here’s the other thing:  You need to think two steps ahead and know who you’re dealing with.  If Ralph had known anything about Boing Boing, they’d know that there was a good possibility that their notice would be blogged and published for the world.  They could have seen this coming.  But they didn’t.  So not only are people seeing the digital emaciation of a model that Ralph wanted to cover up, but they’re also getting mocked mercilessly across the Internet.