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Horror story subreddit goes dark to protest Youtubers ripping off writers

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r/nosleep will remain private until Monday morning

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

The popular horror story subreddit r/nosleep has set itself to private until Monday to protest YouTube creators stealing stories and turning them into videos without permission from their original creators (via Tubefilter).

R/nosleep, which hosts an array of short stories and other horror-related writing, is in the top 50 most popular subreddits, with nearly 14 million subscribers, according to the website Reddit Metrics. So it draws a lot of readers for the scary stories users submit. (The term “nosleep” comes from the idea that if you read the stories, they’re scary enough that they’ll keep you from going to sleep.) Some YouTube creators will take those stories and make dramatic readings of them on their YouTube channels, like this video:

But as explained in this video by an r/nosleep moderator, some YouTube creators are narrating nosleep stories without permission from the original author, crediting the author, or sharing the ad revenue from the video.

The problem has become pervasive enough that the moderators decided to make the subreddit private until next Monday in protest. If you try to visit the subreddit right now, you’ll see this message:

The link in that message takes you to another Reddit post that explains the decision to set r/nosleep to private. “This is being done not only to protest the theft and unfair practices by those who wrongfully profit from the stories posted here, but also to make a very important point: if the authors are not treated fairly and their work is continuously used in ways that break copyright laws, they will stop posting here.”

The subreddit will become public again at 12:01AM ET on Monday.