NL-This isn’t a great article, but is a great topic. I would like to know more about the Retreat, and the lawsuits if anyone has info or links. I’ll get in touch with a few of the companies.
Porn titans come together to expose pirates
by Glenn Chapman – from YahooNews
SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – The notoriously fragmented porn industry is uniting to expose Internet Age pirates threatening its survival.
Studios have begun collaborating on lawsuits targeting people who share digitized adult videos at peer-to-peer networks and are exploring technology tools for automatically tracking and protecting copyrighted material online.
Pink Visual is rallying dozens of adult entertainment studio operators at an unprecedented Content Protection Retreat in Arizona in October to train in ways to combat piracy and defend intellectual property.
“We joke that we can’t agree on where to go for lunch, but this is getting big and we are ready to put aside the egos and sit down to work together on solutions,” said the head of Lightspeed studio Steve Lightspeed. “Piracy on the Internet is much more available to the average user than it ever was.”
Internet technology that started as a boon for porn producers by allowing videos or images to be discreetly viewed on home computers has turned against the adult industry, according to Pink president Allison Vivas. “People were willing back then to pay top dollar for porn, now it looks like the majority of users think adult content is free,” Vivas said. “That is a huge shift in just a few years.”
In recent weeks, porn producers began filing lawsuits against “John Does” that share copyrighted adult material at BitTorrent sites that use peer-to-peer networks of personal computers to swap digital content.
Larry Flynt Publications sued 635 individuals in a court in Texas on September 20 in the company’s first suit aimed at users of BitTorrent sites and vowed many more such suits were to come.
Suits threaten to expose names of accused porn pirates as part of the legal process, and that alone might prove a deterrent. Studios are working with lawyers at Media Copyright Group and Copyright Enforcement Services on the litigation, with an initial legal barrage focused on videos touting shemales or 18-year-old girls.
“It seems like it will be quite embarrassing for whichever user ends up in a lawsuit about using a popular shemale title,” Vivas said, using a term that refers to a person who has female features but male genitalia. “When it comes to private sexual fantasies and fetishes, going public is probably not worth the risk that these torrent and peer-to-peer users are taking.”
Studios are also taking legal aim at “tube” websites, porn versions of video-sharing service YouTube, which they decry as willing stages for pirated content. Studios expressed frustration with unscrupulous adult video-sharing websites packing pages with pirated material and only being required by law to remove the content after proper owners notice and complain.
Lightspeed likened the situation to a car thief only having to return a stolen vehicle after the owner found him and asked for it back.
“The technology has outpaced the laws,” Lightspeed said. “We really need to organize ourselves and lobby for a change in the law.”
Part of the retreat will be devoted to educating studio operators about technology designed to swiftly find and identify copyrighted content posted online and then remove it or overlay it with advertising or labels.
“Companies are going out of business left and right,” Vivas said. “You either have to change your business model or regenerate the value; a lot of companies are doing both.” Pink has been focusing on content for Internet-linked mobile devices including Apple’s popular iPhone smartphones and iPad tablet computers.
Vivid Entertainment has fashioned itself as a purveyor of celebrity sex content and porn parodies of classic films or television shows such as “Batman.”
Lightspeed launched as an adult pay website in 1999 and has grown to 40 online venues.
Lightspeed spent 25,000 dollars and months of work to launch a new website, but shut it down because pirates were giving all of the content away free online within a day.
“The economy in general is forcing everybody’s hands,” Lightspeed said.
“Piracy is just a glaring gap in everyone’s revenue.”
Lightspeed contended that the company’s entire library of content, valued at 10 million dollars, was scattered across the Internet.
“A lot of people think porn producers make enough money already and won’t pay them,” Lightspeed said. “The truth is everyone is just working for a living here and we pay our taxes like everyone else does.”