Industry News

3 Ways To Deal With Piracy

op/ed by Jake Harris

As you sit there reading this one of the largest efforts to stop porn piracy to date is taking place.  Pink Visual is staging the Content Protection Retreat at an undisclosed location somewhere near Tucson, Arizona October 17th-19th.  The stated goal of the retreat is simple: “To significantly reduce digital piracy of adult content and to effectively drive those who engage in adult content piracy completely underground by January 2012.”  By bringing together up to 30 of the industries top production companies Pink Visual is hoping to create a united front that will be able to effectively combat digital piracy.

While many of the details of the event are being held in secrecy a few things are known.  Two days of educational programming will be offered with representatives from the Free Speech Coalition in attendance as well as Gill Sperlein, general counsel for Titan Media.  According to the CPR website ( a number of industry leaders will be attending the retreat including Pink Visual, Hustler, and Evil Angel.

While they do have a pretty, nicely designed website…what is there to make of this and will any of it work? 

First off, Pink Visual isn’t disclosing any real information about the event, including what the specific topics of discussion will be or what the educational programming will consist of.  This tends to make me believe that more than anything else this retreat is simply a meeting of 30 production companies who want to brainstorm and see if the collective can come up with a new way to attack an old problem. 

While not trying to beat a dead horse it’s imperative to look at the problem of piracy as objectively as possible.  Piracy has been around for as long as original content has been able to be copied and it will not go away regardless of the laws or the efforts to thwart the pirates.  No matter what steps are taken to combat piracy you will always have people in unregulated locales that want to provide the content for free.  Additionally, as long as the responsibility to police piracy remains with the copyright holder it will be an uphill battle on a very slippery hill.

The way I see it there are a few options moving forward, and who knows, maybe these are currently being discussed in Tucson.

One: Live and let live.  Recognize that people will continually attempt to pirate copyrighted material and many will do so knowing full well that it is against the laws.  A lot of people out there believe very strongly in personal freedoms and deregulation and will take any attempt to stop them as a personal attack.  To get a sense of this just visit some of the more popular forums and you will find a near-militant group of people who will pirate ridiculously obscure movies, music, and magazines just because they believe in their right to be able to do so.  If this option is selected the studios need to adjust and realize what their customers will be willing to pay for and just how much they might spend.  Hopefully this way they can maximize profits while still adjusting their margins to “allow” for some piracy.

Two:  Attack individual users so strongly that a lot of the pirates will stop out of fear of either embarrassment or monetary suffering.  This strategy is currently being applied by Larry Flynt Publications as just last month they sued 635 people in a Texas court.  The individuals being sued are being targeted for pirating titles that fall into one of two categories: Shemale or 18 year-old girls.  The thinking behind these two categories is that the potential embarrassment of being “outed” as a fan of either shemale or 18 year-old girl porn in a lawsuit will have the defendants settle immediately and halt future piracy.  We have yet to see if the embarrassment factor will work but judging by past failures in other industries I don’t see the monetary suffering as being too great a hindrance.  A simple Google search reveals anything and everything you could ever want to pirate, whether it be a torrent or hosted at a site such as Rapidshare.

Three: Create new, and innovative, streams of income.  As we all know the adult film industry traditionally leads the pack into new technologies and revenue streams before some of the other, more mainstream, industries.  It might just be the time to do that again and take the next step.  3-D porn, interactive sex toys, online interactive porn, and who knows what else might be viable ways to make money before the technology exists for the pirates to copy it and distribute it effectively.

I believe that the best course of action would be to take a combination of options one and three; accept that piracy will happen and do your best to develop new sources of revenue.  Piracy is going to happen and profitability will follow those who progress in spite of it.



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