In a comical twist of things this weekend, let’s talk about a situation where IMAX didn’t seem to understand what the Streisand Effect is, and why they should probably avoid provoking it. See, the Streisand Effect is simply the phenomenon where an attempt to hide or censor something – especially on the internet – typically has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely. Essentially, it means that when a company gets upset with something that the masses disagree with, they tend to immediately spread the word about that company acting in poor taste. Like right now, with this article.
With this specific situation, Ars Technica had an article where they talked about the new StreamVR headset that’s being created by Valve – it’s really a good article, you should definitely go check it out. In the article, Ars quoted game designer Alex Schwartz with this statement: “The jump up in tech between playing a normal video game and playing with Kinect was X. The jump between a regular game and playing a room scale VR experience is X times 100. It’s like saying, ‘I have an IMAX theater in my house.’ It’s so much better that we can get away with a cumbersome setup.”
From that one little quote – not even really commenting with an opinion on the quote, but really just quoting someone else’s thoughts on the idea – IMAX sent a Trademark complaint over to Ars and demanded that they take the story down. Ars Technica commented in the article: “The company said our story required a retraction because it included a brief reference to IMAX—included without IMAX’s permission.”
Comically, you can read the full complaint letter from IMAX right here. Ars was kind enough to provide the reading material for the internet to enjoy.
Since Ars posted the article about IMAX’s extremely poor decision, IMAX has apologized for how they acted. Ars Technica, being the bigger poeple in the situation, has accepted the apology, and has updated all of their articles to reflect IMAX’s response. However, one has to wonder what happened over at IMAX to make this happen. Was it just that a temp was in the office that weekend, and made a poor decision without thinking it through? Or, was it really how they felt, and only backed down when they saw the follow-up articles from Ars, and how the internet responded? For their sake, I hope the internet doesn’t assume it’s the latter.