Pornographers band together under The PAK Group to take on smut pirates
Apparently fed up with the lack of progress and high expense of attacking individual file sharers, porn industry leader Jason Tucker announced that his anti-piracy organization, The PAK Group, is going to start litigating websites that offer stolen porn instead.
The PAK Group was founded in September 2007 by a coalition of producers angry with the spread of piracy online. It originally set out to attack individual file-sharers online, much like the RIAA.
Tucker’s new target refers largely to the deluge of “tube” websites that have sprung up in the past few years: styled after the ever-so-popular YouTube, there are now hundreds of these sites offering free streaming video complete with search engines, indexed content, tagging, and in some cases even a download option. Much of their content, however, is pirated.
“The use of stolen content had become so pervasive that I couldn’t surf the adult Internet without running into stolen copies of our images,” said Tucker in an interview with industry periodical XBIZ. “Not only did this really put a damper on my late-night porn surfing, but it upset me to no end. Instead of enjoying adult entertainment, I started using those late-night hours to document thieves.”
The problem with tubes is synonymous with the copyright difficulties that YouTube occasionally finds itself in; except in the tubes’ case, there are no real challengers – until now. This, combined with the numerous porn-only BitTorrent trackers and the copious amounts of porn available on Usenet and other P2P networks, prompted Tucker and his group into action.
Tucker told XBIZ thatThe PAK Group now has software – written in-house by the group’s head lawyer, who once called himself a “better programmer than he is an attorney” – that “spiders websites, only grabbing the content we tell it to find.”
“Once it finds the content, it documents everything that a lawyer needs to prove that the thief was in fact using stolen content,” said Tucker.
The PAK Group is now close to filing its first lawsuit against “a major tube site,” and has plans to “follow that up with a lot more.”
“No one is immune,” he said. “The big problem I see right now is not outsiders doing this; rather, it is people who purport to be contributing members in our industry. As a result, we know who is doing this, we know where they are, we know where they process transactions, we know where they bank, we know where they host and we know where they live.
“This means when we come for you, we know how to get you. To the thieves that laugh about this, remember that we are coordinated. We are your affiliates, we are the guys you sit next to at industry dinners and the people that bump your posts on boards. Hiding is hard to do when we know what you look like, bro.”
The Group’s shift in strategy, from individual file-sharers to the sites they visit, stems largely due to the expense, frustration, and ultimate ineffectiveness in going after single users.
“I don’t currently see the problem with the end users as much as I do companies creating locations where the exploitation of stolen works is encouraged,” said Tucker.
“I’m sure the RIAA’s nearly decade-long efforts was what ultimately convinced them,” posited ZeroPaid blogger soulxtc.
There is some value in tube websites, however: there are “viable business models” in social video-sharing websites, notes Tucker, but right now his organization is more interested in making sure that the porn industry adheres to a basic respect of intellectual property rights. “Self policing is a must. MySpace and YouTube cleaned up their act, so it can be done.”
MySpace and YouTube have a widely different draw, however – the focus with most tubes is professional content, as homemade videos that lends YouTube its greatness serving as a far smaller contributor. If the tubes lost their professional, pirated content, how much would be left?
Ultimately, like the death of OiNK or ShareReactor – the former of which spawned a pair of successful, still-running spin-offs – it could drive porn file-sharing community further underground.
Regardless, Tucker promised the world that his organization – backed by groups like the AVN Media Network – is indeed serious.