This week—the good, bad and stolen pictures

A lot happened on Reddit this week. r/jailbait was closed down; College Humor nabbed Redditor's photos and one redditor got a movie deal.

Mar 3, 2020, 11:07 am*

Internet Culture

Kevin Morris 

Kevin Morris

This week on Reddit

By now even Reddit dilettantes know: r/jailbait is gone. The controversial teen pics section was banned by site administrators on Monday after the section was allegedly used as a launching pad for exchanging child pornography.

But as we wrote on Tuesday, even as the dust settled it was pretty clear nothing had really changed: all the pics were still available at their source, image hosting site Imgur, and dozens of sections on Reddit were still linking to them.

Yes, the big, shiny, easy target of r/jailbait is gone.

Earlier this week, the FBI arrested the man who hacked Scarlett Johansson’s cell phone and posted the actresses’ nude photographs online. When will law enforcement officials apply the same diligence to tracking down people who steal images from teenagers’ Facebook pages and cell phones?

Better legislation and law enforcement is needed to protect these kids. Not games of Internet whack-a-mole.

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Speaking of lifting photos: Why is College Humor nabbing redditors original photographs without permission? A tip led us to discover multiple instances of potential copyright infringement perpetrated by the humor site — a place whose reputation was built on great original content.

It receives about 8 million hits a week, and its parent company, IAC, is valued at nearly $3.5 billion. Is asking permission really that hard?

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Reddit’s news wasn’t all scurrilous this week. Take the case of Prufrock451, for instance. He wrote some pretty good comments last month about a battalion of marines teleported in time to the era of Augustus Caesar. All he got was a boatload of Reddit karma.

Oh, and a movie deal.

On Thursday night, Variety reported that Warner Bros. had picked up the rights to Rome Sweet Rome earlier this week — showing that perhaps Reddit isn’t quite the time waste everyone thinks it is.

This morning I sent Prufrock451, aka James Erwin, a 37-year-old technical writer (and two time Jeopardy champ!), an email asking him what it felt like to be legit Hollywood screenwriter.

His answer: “Terrifying! Incredibly great but terrifying.”

The project has already moved from comment to movie deal in less than a month. Does that mean we can expect to see the full feature film by, say, this Christmas?

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In other news, Reddit is getting stupider (but we all knew that already, didn’t we?), Scrolldit makes Reddit pretty, and you really shouldn’t put chili peppers anywhere near your butt.

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Finally, it’s not really “this week,” but on Saturday Reddit staff are livestreaming a marathon video game session. It’s all for charity, and a very good one. Check out our story about it here.

Photo by blmurch

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*First Published: Oct 14, 2011, 6:34 pm