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A Brief History of Reddit

Reddit Reddit is a social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website that was founded in 2005 by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian. The site is organized into a series of communities, or subreddits, each focused on a particular topic. Reddit’s history can be traced back to the idea of a website that combined elements of social news and online discussion forums. Huffman and Ohanian initially created a prototype for the site, which they called “My Mobile Menu,” but they later changed the name to “Reddit,” a play on the words “read it.”

The site was launched in 2005 and quickly gained popularity among users who appreciated its user-generated content and community-driven approach. In 2006, Reddit was acquired by the publisher Condé Nast, which provided the site with additional resources and helped to grow its user base. Over the years, Reddit has become known for its wide range of content, from discussions of politics and current events to niche interests like gaming and hobbyist communities. The site has also faced controversy and criticism over issues such as hate speech, misinformation, copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and the spread of dangerous conspiracy theories.

In 2020, Reddit became a key platform for social and political activism, with users organizing and sharing information related to the Black Lives Matter protests and the U.S. presidential election. Today, Reddit is one of the most popular websites on the internet, with over 430 million monthly active users and over 130,000 active communities. The site continues to evolve and adapt to changes in the online landscape while remaining a powerful force for community-driven content and discussion.

Reddit copyright infringement

Reddit Has Been Plagued With Copyright and Trademark Issues Since its Inception

Reddit has had a long-standing problem with people stealing and reposting content without giving proper credit to the original creators. This issue, often referred to as “content theft” or “content stealing,” is a violation of the site’s content policy and can be seen as the website’s biggest ethical problem.

Reddit’s content policy prohibits users from submitting content that infringes on the intellectual property rights of others. This includes posting content that someone else has created without their permission or without giving them proper credit. However, enforcing this policy has proven difficult, as the site’s large user base and decentralized nature can make it challenging to identify and remove instances of content theft.

The issue of content theft has been a source of frustration for many content creators on the site, who feel that their hard work and creativity are being exploited for the benefit of others. Some creators have even left the site or stopped sharing their work on it altogether in response to this rampant content theft issue. I was one of these creators who left many years ago when everyone kept posting all my blogs without Reddit giving me credit or karma. Reddit’s actual functional rules often punish users for posting their own written work and encourage lay people to post work they do not have the right to distribute. Or in this case, sell it to Reddit for mass commenting, in exchange for Reddit points ie Reddit Karma. It was backward and bizarre back then, to say the least, and it still is today. I returned to post memes years later and found the image theft issue on the website to be just as bad as the written article theft.

To address this problem, Reddit has taken a number of steps over the years. For example, the site has introduced tools and features to help content creators protect their work, such as watermarking and embeddable links. Reddit has also encouraged users to report instances of content theft and has worked to improve its content moderation processes to better identify and remove stolen content. Despite these efforts, content theft remains a persistent problem on Reddit, especially on subreddits like Political Humor where the moderators are unethical and desperate for content. As such the site continues to face criticism from content creators like me who feel that their rights are not being adequately protected on Reddit.

Reddit Stole My Original Content

Today I created a meme about Florida Governor Ron DeSantis based on my research on him for an article I was writing. I discovered through a friend of his from law school, that Ron DeSantis was actually married at Disney! I knew it would make a viral meme. So I made it and dropped it on Reddit and it immediately went viral as expected.

Then the content theft began…

After I posted the original meme I got thousands of upvotes on r/politicalmemes the best subreddit for a political meme. But Reddit does not allow users to share other users’ work as every other social network does. The only way content can move around the network is by stealing it and publishing it as your own on another subreddit. Since many subreddits overlap content genres. This presents an opportunity for local, uncreative, grifters to steal content from talented people. People, who put the actual work in to become talented enough to make good internet content in the first place. In my case, a Reddit grifter who only steals and never creates named “shibiwan” took my content from r/politicalmemes and put it in a subreddit with even more users r/politicalhumor. Soon he had 6,000+ upvotes and was headed to the front page of Reddit. While taking full credit for my work, he compiled the majority of the Reddit Karma points given out for my original meme, and Reddit never adjusted it for me. To the average user on Reddit, it looked his post was the real post, and mine was the copycat. So disheartening as a creator.

The thief got 600% more upvotes than I did as the real creator of the viral content.

Reddit Political Humor Sub Rampant and Aggressive Copyright Infringers

What Was My Crime as a Creator?

I followed Reddit’s rules to a T and had my content stolen as a result. Then I was abused by the moderators who were also benefiting from the theft since their subreddit was going viral. I the original content creator was then banned from the subreddit by the moderators in an ultimate act of online vengeance and retribution. How can Conde Nast stand behind this kind of rampant and abusive content theft? They are supposed to be a company that provides professional journalist exposure, not a digital chop shop.

Reddit is Where Good Creators Go to Die

Not only does Reddit pay its users in points to go out on the open web and steal our content off our websites and bring it to their website where everyone comments on it. They also do not pay us as creators. YouTube pays us, Tiktok pays us, and even sketchy Meta pays us now. But not Reddit. Reddit pays no one but themselves. They would rather keep all the money and give points to internet idiots to steal our content than pay us a living wage to create it like a real business. Reddit is awful, it’s everything that’s wrong with the web. It’s bottled up in a nice fun website that’s for sure. But it’s only fun because they steal the whole internet and put it in one place. Reddit at its true heart is a corporate grift that rips off creators and empowers thieves.

Here is My Original and Watermarked Meme on Reddit

This is my original healthy post on Reddit that followed every Reddit rule. But, yet was stolen. Then when I inquired about the theft I was abused and banned. It was like watching some lunatic who hides behind an unpaid moderator position, going up an anger escalator, until he flew through the roof. It was crazy! He could have simply given me credit, contacted the poster, or asked me to repost it… But he couldn’t be bothered. He was furious that he could not steal my content to make his subreddit better. So he banned me, a creator, from a subreddit that I would clearly be a huge asset to, instead of simply asking me to join it. He literally banned me the original creator of the content and apologized to the thief in writing. It was honestly one of the most abusive experiences I have ever been a party to on the Internet and I have been literally building the Internet for over 14 years.

Ron DeSantis Meme Stolen By Reddit Users and Mods

Here is The Stolen Version of My Meme on R/PoliticalHumor 

As you can see the thief has more upvotes on his post than the original post. Since the stolen post did so well the moderators wanted to protect it on the subreddit. It was by far the best meme they have had on their r/politicalhumor subreddit in ages and it went to the top in less than a day. So the moderators who feel attached and even feel ownership of the subreddits they manage chose to insult me, attack me, and then block me from the subreddit rather than give me credit for my own original content.

r/PoliticalHumor Steals Memes

Reddit Moderator Banned the Creator and Apologized to the Content Thief

After banning me the rude and unprofessional moderator went to the content thief’s page and apologized to him! He literally banned the rightful creator of the viral content and apologized to the thief. All because he was so butthurt that he couldn’t steal other people’s content for his subreddit!!!

R/PoliticalHumor Moderator Apologies to Content Thief

Reddit Moderator Apologizes to Copyright Thief

Abusive Mods are the Norm not the Exception at Reddit

Prior to this, I had flat-out lies spread about me in r/legal, they are still on Reddit to this day, and those mods were not only the ones who posted it, they protected it and banned me as well. So this type of moderator abuse is as rampant as content theft is on Reddit. Some moderators enforce Reddit rules and other moderators just make up their own and use Reddit as their own personal tool of hate and retribution. The fact Conde Nast a billion-dollar company has humans and not AI moderators is kind of ridiculous at this point. To be honest, power corrupts humans and that’s why humans alone will never be the best moderators. Reddit needs to have easy and instant checks and balances for creators to put checks on unethical moderators. Otherwise, the moderators will keep stealing content to grow their subreddits.

This user moderator mistake has probably cost Reddit millions of users already, and the best users too. No one wants to be on a network where the moderators have abuse issues. No creator wants to be stolen from and that’s all that happens on Reddit. Reddit’s upvote-downvote system is cool, but its lack of infrastructure around it has made it almost worthless to post on Reddit as a creator since your content will surely be stolen.

Reddit is a case of coulda, woulda, shoulda! It could have been as powerful as Google and been an upvote and downvote search engine. But being lazy and treating creators worse than shit has made them the smallest of all the social networks in America. People like the moderator of r/politicalhumor steal content and then abuse you over it if you say anything about it. This is exactly why all creators hate Reddit and always will. YouTube would never let this fly, Meta would never let this fly, Twitter would never let this fly, and TikTok would never let this fly. But on Reddit theft and abuse is not only welcome, and encouraged, they pay you for it with Reddit Karma!

These moderators on Reddit suck and they have no idea what they are doing across the board. The mod in this instance was so stupid he literally thought the DMCA allowed him to steal other people’s content, I mean what a freaking idiot, and he is in charge of a huge subreddit at Conde Nast! These Moderators are children and losers who feel like they own the subreddits that they manage for Reddit. They are filled with unethical past versions of Reddiquette mixed with personal bias and a toxic attachment to the subreddits that they manage. Dealing with a moderator on Reddit is like being in a relationship with an abuser. They are gonna shout stuff they made up at you that makes no sense, then they are gonna block you like a teenage girl throwing a temper tantrum, all when you have done nothing wrong at all. I imagine the average moderator on Reddit yells at everyone online all day. Then goes home and beats his wife and kids before going to bed. I have never met a decent moderator on Reddit in my entire time using the morally bankrupt and content-theft-ridden network.

Reddit’s Bizarre Point System Pays You for Stealing Online Content

Reddit is a comment system, it’s a place people share content and upvote or downvote it while discussing it at the same time. As such it has astronomically large content needs online. They need content for 430 million users a month to comment on. Since they have all readers and no writers on staff. They solve this problem by offering the users of Reddit points for stealing content online and bringing it back to Reddit. The more content you steal, the more points you get. Some of the Reddit accounts with the highest “Karma” are actually the largest copyright infringers in North American legal history. They get bonus points for stealing the best content the fastest. If you are the first to Reddit with a good piece of content off the web that someone else created then you can expect a huge windfall of Reddit karma ie Reddit points on your account. Essentially, Reddit pays users to steal content online and bring it back to their website. It would be like if Napster had given people points for stealing music. Reddit is one of the busiest websites in the world and they employ no content creators at all. The entire Reddit website is stolen.

All of Reddit’s Comments Are Ethically Owned by the Content Creators Not Reddit

You can’t have comments without our content, it’s not the proverbial chicken and the egg. You need the content to have the comments. People can’t talk about, what they do not know about. This is the giant hole in Reddit’s armor so to speak. Reddit only survives because of the absence of internet law in this space. The truth is, ethically every comment on Reddit is owned by the author of the content the comments are on. The content generated the comment, so the comment is owned by the author of the content. That means we creators own all of Reddit and not Conde Nast. Conde Nast knows this I assume and that’s why they do not invest in Reddit at all. They know Reddit’s systems and procedures won’t hold up in Federal Court. That’s the ethical reality. You can’t steal someone’s content, hold a whole discussion on it, and claim you own the discussion, its fruit from the forbidden tree in legal ease. Imagine stealing the new Top Gun movie, posting it on your website under an incorrect author, having the whole world watch and comment on it on your website, then running ads on that conversation and movie like you own it. That’s what Reddit is doing and in the future, it most certainly will not be legal. In some ways, Reddit is a Napster for all types of web content in all genres not just music.

A Personal Note As a Content Creator…

I am as far as I know one of the best political meme creators on Reddit. I have not seen any other political meme creator accounts as successful as mine and I only started a brief time ago. My success on Reddit making memes is due to the fact that I have 14 years of experience as a full-stack web developer and owner of a successful digital agency and online news platform. Reddit should be a protected haven for people like me, but instead, it is where we are the most used and abused. If you write an article Reddit gets mad if you even try and post it yourself. Yet, if a third party does it they are wildly rewarded on the network. Reddit does not take its content or its creators seriously as people, businesses, or copyright holders. They are so past their skies on this issue that I believe it is time for a class-action lawsuit from all creators against Reddit. Everyone all the way from the New York Times to me, should sue Reddit for their rampant copyright infringement, content theft, and straight-up digital scheme to steal content. By giving users Reddit karma points as payment for content theft. Only the original content creators should be allowed to share on Reddit. Then the creators would all have big safe accounts, with lots of karma, and Reddit would be thriving instead of the way it is now like a backyard alley where you can buy stolen goods. Where talentless hack moderators, scare away all the real talent on the network, by obsessively and compulsively stealing their original content.

R/Politicalhumor Moderator’s Full Toxic Conversation

The moderator admits in writing that Reddit encourages rampant copyright infringement and content theft.

PJZNY: My DeSantis getting married at Disney meme was already viral on Reddit when you let someone steal my work and use it in your subreddit. It literally has my name right on it. I’m a professional journalist he can’t steal my copyrighted work without my permission or credit. Not sure why mods are letting people steal other well-known users’ work.

PJZNY: You can leave the meme up but he has to put my name on it in his title otherwise ill report the whole sub for copyright infringement

PJZNY: It’s so lame cause he didn’t find it on the open web. He stole it from my actual Reddit account. Imagine if everyone robbed each other’s accounts how shitty Reddit would be?

Reddit Political Humor Mod: Your bio says that you are a tech CEO, not a journalist. Once you put something on Reddit, you have given Reddit permission to allow others to cross-post it. Your watermark wasn’t removed, so you are still receiving credit. This is how Reddit functions. The majority of posts are other people’s works. You have no right to break our rules on civility. This is your one warning. You aren’t Reddit famous, nobody knows who you are.

PJZNY: Go to my website we are a tech company that owns a news organization like Amazon owns Washington Post.

PJZNY: It breaks Reddit’s rules. Your user stole it when it was already viral on Reddit. He stole it right from my account. That’s not ethical, kind, normal, or helpful to Reddit.

Political Humor Moderator: That is how Reddit functions. It’s just karma, and you are still credited with your watermark.

PJZNY: If you knew anything about Reddit on a corporate level you would know one of its biggest hurdles is copyright fraud. People get points for stealing other people’s work and bringing it to Reddit. Reddit has been to court thousands of times over it.

PJZNY: Reddit has struggled for years to flip the system and make it safe for creators. This is why Tiktok and other places that protect creators flew by Reddit in growth. Mods like you are why Conde Nash hasn’t been investing in Reddit’s growth. You guys make it a litigious nightmare for corporate. They had a whole plan to invest in Reddit videos and they canned it. So if you like Reddit then you should know this type of theft is why no one will ever invest any money to upgrade it.

PJZNY: Im going to publish an article on SFL.Media our news site that shows how you let this guy steal my work and get 6,000 karma points for the theft.

PJZNY: It’s not ethical and trying to threaten me the creator is mean and not good for your subreddit that needs people like me in it.

PJZNY: I hope some other mods read this.

Political Humor Mod: I just looked at your LinkedIn, you are not a journalist. You run a small website company, that doesn’t do any actual journalism. Reddit has not been to court thousands of times. Are you not familiar with the DMCA? Go ahead and write your article. People will think you are a joke for getting your panties in such a twist over Reddit karma. We’re done.

Political Humor Mod: You have been temporarily muted from r/PoliticalHumor. You will not be able to message the moderators of r/PoliticalHumor for 28 days.


Political Humor Mod: You’ve been permanently banned from participating in r/PoliticalHumor. You have been permanently banned from participating in r/PoliticalHumor. You can still view and subscribe to r/PoliticalHumor, but you won’t be able to post or comment.

Note from the moderators: You can appeal after you learn how Reddit functions.

If you have a question regarding your ban, you can contact the moderator team for r/PoliticalHumor by replying to this message.

Reminder from the Reddit staff: If you use another account to circumvent this subreddit ban, that will be considered a violation of the Content Policy and can result in your account being suspended from the site as a whole.

Reddit Moderator’s Excessive and Crazy Lies

1. Claims I’m not a journalist.

2. Claims Reddit has not been sued for copyright.

3. Claims Reddit rules allow for copyright infringement and content theft.

4. Claims Reddit’s subreddit rules are more important than Federal copyright laws.

5. Claims SFL Media is a small company that does no journalism.

7. Claims the DMCA allows him to steal whoever’s work he wants to.

8. Claims this is how Reddit works and I need to learn it.

The Dirty Truth About Reddit…

The dirty truth about Reddit is that this is how they treat creators on the network. Reddit thinks the whole internet should be free to steal and if any creator speaks up they should get the death penalty for it. I outed Ron DeSantis for getting married at Disney on Reddit. A huge favor for Reddit and they let some idiot named “shibiwan” steal my content and then let some moron moderator from r/politicalhumor ban me the actual creator from a subreddit on the network. What the hell is going on at Conde Nast? Do they even have a clue wtf is going on at Reddit day to day at all??? Do they even use the network themselves???

If you drop timely content on Reddit, if you create great content on Reddit, if you do anything awesome on Reddit you should be rewarded! But instead, in reality, the other users will steal it from you and the moderators will ban and block you for trying to stand up for yourself and your rights as a creator. Reddit is where creators go to die and where copyright infringers and bullies thrive and live high on the hog. If you look at his messages the moderator even threatens me by saying I can come back to Reddit “when I learn how Reddit functions.” As in I can come back to Reddit when I allow them to steal my content and ignore my Federally protected rights as a content creator.

If You Message r/politicalhumor Mods…

You get this anti-Muslim bizarre and unprofessional message that claims the sub-Reddit is registered in Costa Rica and not part of Conde Nast. This is just one of a million examples of how unprofessional Reddit mods are and how absolutely unqualified for their job they are. This is an auto message they actually send out to real people full of legal lies and bullshit. Someone has really gotta sue Conde Nast at this point. They are very rich and very weak legally speaking. They clearly do not even know what their mods are doing…


Reddit Copyright Infringers


After sending this very weird, semi-anti-Muslim, and bizarre message twice. The mods of r/politicalhumor finally responded with this message below and it was clear they did not read my prior message to them. Because I simply asked if the abusive mod was still there and if I could post in the sub now. But, the mod it seems is encouraging me to file a copyright lawsuit against Reddit? It’s very weird and very unprofessional, to say the least, and certainly not smart business for Conde Nast the parent company that owns Reddit to have mods suggesting lawsuits. Then the mod says I’m annoying the mods of the sub by sending them one professional message? The mod closes by saying he does not like my chances in my imaginary lawsuit that he made up in his head. While sending some verbiage he pulled from Reddit somewhere that the mod believes justifies and protects them in stealing other people’s content on the Reddit platform. This is Reddit folks take a good look. It’s a complete total shit show of a social media network with zero oversight and nobody home but angry mods who have zero ethics or professional standards.


Important Update!

More Toxic Practices Found on Reddit This Time on Subreddit r/Memes

Reddit Institutionalized copyright infringement

Today I had a meme that I created, going viral on the Reddit subreddit r/memes and it was removed from Reddit. All because it had the meme creator’s name on it, my name. Wow, the mods on r/memes have uncanny bad luck. They picked the one guy to pull this on who has a huge running article on Reddit’s constant and rampant copyright infringement. That should tell you everything about how disorganized Reddit is run for being as powerful and influential as the website is currently.

Not Too Smart!

The copyright infringement and toxic content theft culture is so rampant on Reddit that it is baked into the very rules of its most popular subreddits. Just look to the right and see how they banned my original meme, only posted on their subreddit, all because it had the creator’s name on it. This is Reddit deliberately setting the rules to help steal creators’ content and prevent them from getting credit or payment. There is literally no other reason to remove a creator’s name. Imagine removing political comic creator’s names from their art in a newspaper. Or moving the illustrator’s name off a famous book? It’s unheard of, it’s offensive, it’s deliberate and organized content theft on a billion-dollar scale. This is how billion-dollar corporations like Conde Nast steal from their own creators every single day online. Conde Nast is so ripe for a federal copyright mass tort that it’s unfathomable some law firm has not filed it yet. Just go to every person who ever posted on r/memes and had to remove their name from their own work to get it up on the website. We will all gladly sign on with any lawyer who offers to protect our rights as creators from Conde Nast and these content-thirsty website moderators who live to steal content for their own online karma.

Unmasking Unethical Reddit Practices

Reddit’s r/Memes and the Issue of Removing Watermarks

Reddit, often regarded as the “front page of the internet,” is home to numerous communities dedicated to sharing content, including the immensely popular r/memes subreddit. Memes, those humorous and relatable digital images, have become a cultural phenomenon, with creators putting their time and creativity into crafting these nuggets of internet humor. However, there is an unsettling practice within some Reddit communities, including r/memes, where meme creators are asked to remove their own names or watermarks from their work. This practice not only raises ethical concerns but also perpetuates a toxic culture of stealing others’ creative efforts.

The Importance of Watermarks

Watermarks, a visible overlay on an image, often contain the creator’s name, social media handle, or website, providing due credit for their work. They serve as a mark of authenticity and are essential for creators who rely on their content for recognition, income, or professional opportunities. Removing these watermarks effectively erases the creator’s identity from their work and robs them of deserved acknowledgment.

The Unethical Practice

In r/memes, it’s not uncommon for users to request or even demand that meme creators remove their watermarks before posting. This practice is often justified by claiming that the memes will gain more upvotes or appear more “organic” without the creator’s name attached. However, this argument stands on shaky ethical grounds. It essentially encourages the erasure of creators’ identities and discourages them from receiving recognition for their work.

Perpetuating a Culture of Plagiarism

The removal of watermarks plays into a more significant issue on Reddit – the culture of content theft. Some users exploit the anonymity of the platform to repost content without proper attribution. When watermark removal is normalized, it contributes to this toxic culture, making it easier for content to be stolen and shared without giving credit to the creators.

Creators’ Rights and Fair Compensation

Creators, whether they make memes, art, or any form of content, have the right to be recognized and compensated for their work. The removal of watermarks hinders their ability to build a brand, gain followers, and generate income from their creative efforts. It also discourages talented individuals from continuing to contribute their work to platforms like Reddit, ultimately stifling the community’s diversity and vibrancy.

Encouraging Ethical Content Sharing

To address this issue, it is imperative that Reddit communities like r/memes take a proactive stance against the removal of watermarks. Moderators can play a pivotal role in creating and enforcing rules that promote ethical content sharing and give credit to creators. Users should also be educated about the importance of respecting creators’ rights and the harm caused by watermark removal.

The practice of asking meme creators to remove their own names or watermarks from their work on Reddit’s r/memes subreddit is not only unethical but also perpetuates a culture of content theft and plagiarism. It’s crucial for online communities to recognize and respect the rights of content creators, ensuring that their contributions are acknowledged and appreciated. By fostering an environment that values originality and ethical content sharing, we can create a more inclusive and respectful online space for all creators to thrive.


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About The Author

Patrick Zarrelli

Tech CEO, Aggressive Progressive, and Unrelenting Realist. @PJZNY Across the Web!!!

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