Pirates Accepting Corbin Fisher’s ‘Amnesty’ Offer
by Sue Denim
Published on January 28th, 2011 04:17 PM
YNOT – On Tuesday, gay production company Corbin Fisher offered to forgive the sins of thousands of anonymous peer-to-peer network users the company is suing for content theft if the pirates would come forward before Feb. 8, admit their misdeeds and make amends by paying a $1,000 fee. By noon Friday, eight of the accused had emailed the company, hats and checkbooks in hand, with a request for absolution.
Corbin Fisher corporate counsel Marc Randazza admits a pool of eight penitent porn pirates represents a tiny sample among the tens of thousands who inhabit the web. He also noted, though, that every time a studio converts an illicit file sharer — and enforces the thief’s conversion with a legally binding court order to go forth and sin no more under penalty of financial disaster — the internet becomes a safer, more profitable place for porn. Instead of end-user lawsuits creating enemies of fans, exactly the reverse is happening, Randazza said: Consumers are beginning to recognize the human cost of copyright infringement, and they feel genuine contrition.
“End-user litigation is an important tool to reverse the trend of piracy,” Randazza told YNOT.com. “But it must be used in the right way. Content owners need to find a high road that makes sense for both sides. Corbin Fisher believes amnesty is a high road.”
Corbin Fisher’s amnesty offer has produced a significant amount of scoffing within the industry, for two primary reasons:
1. Content producers are hemorrhaging revenues to rampant piracy at a time when consumers’ disposable income has fallen and the web is awash in legitimate free porn. The public, it often seems, loves to watch people having sex but seldom cares whether those who create the material starve.
2. Despite its best efforts to produce content that remains within the limits of the law, the adult entertainment industry seems constantly to be under attack by self-righteous social conservatives who demand the criminalization of all pornography. Consequently, many adult insiders have little sympathy for honest-to-goodness lawbreakers who violate intellectual property statutes with impunity.
Corbin Fisher’s amnesty offer embodies the company’s attempt to find a middle ground from which the industry might begin to convince file-sharers that porn producers, like restaurants and bars, deserve to be compensated for their product. Who would walk into a grocery store, for example, and expect to walk out unchallenged if they neglected to pay for the basketful of goodies they selected? “We wanted to at least give people a chance to see the error of their ways and come forward to resolve the situation,” Randazza told YNOT.
In January, Corbin Fisher proved its willingness to let bygones be bygones for a moderate fee when it struck a deal with one P2P file-sharer. The court awarded the studio a $250,000 judgment against an end-user who had uploaded at least six Corbin Fisher DVDs to a torrent network. Corbin Fisher agreed to accept one-tenth the adjudicated settlement, $25,000, with the legally binding understanding the defendant would share no more porn produced by anyone, ever.
Pirates who participate in the studio’s amnesty program will get a much better deal, but if they insist Corbin Fisher pursue them, the company will be happy to oblige — and without remorse. Defendants who lose in court may as well resign themselves to paying as much as $150,000 in damages per infringement, Randazza said. Olive branches bend only so far before they break.
Corbin Fisher Chief Operating Officer Brian Dunlap said the studio has sweetened the amnesty deal by making the $1,000 fee count for something besides a penalty. Along with forgiveness of all previous piratical activity, Corbin Fisher will give each end-user who settles by the amnesty deadline a full one-year membership to the company’s flagship website, so they can continue to enjoy gay porn in a respectable, legal fashion.