Adult Film Industry Takes on P2P Piracy

Angry that pirating is so easy, industry reps met to come up with solutions.

The MPAA and RIAA have been upset for years that their content has wound up on P2P and file-sharing networks everywhere, and their efforts to tackle it are common knowledge. But, despite similar discontent by the Porn Industry Producers they have yet to make anti-piracy strategies of their own.

“It’s not like we’re trying to make a Shane’s World Anti-Piracy thing,” noted Megan Stokes, VP of DVD Sales for Shane’s World. “It’s just, we have a lot of friends in the business, and we were sitting around bitching about piracy, and we were listening to our other friends in the industry sitting around bitching about piracy, and nobody was really doing anything, so we just decided to find a room and pay for that and get a moderator and food and drinks and all that stuff and just be able to provide the facility for something like this to come about.”

It was with this in mind that 65 adult film producers, along with attorneys, and other interested parties, met recently in the so-called “Porn Valley” of Southern California (Universal City) to hold a piracy roundtable. They met presumably to discuss both digital and physical piracy, but I’m sure it was the former that most on their mind.

“What I’m getting out of this is that this is so pervasive,” said director Andrew Blake of Studio A Entertainment during a break, “and we all kind of laughed when they came for the record industry — ‘Eh, couldn’t touch us’ — but here it is, a lot of people on the verge of extinction almost, from a business point of view.”

“People are genuinely pissed off,” added Wit Maverick of Adam & Eve, “and the changing climate of the whole VOD market is really what’s scaring everybody; they’re so easy to pirate.”

“Basically, what it was was, I think, the first true meeting of producers and counsel for the producers,” summarized attorney Greg Piccionelli, who spoke at the meeting, “to take steps to finally do something about the rampant piracy that is eating away like a cancer against the industry, and there was a lot of discussion about the causes.”

Some at the meeting apparently felt that no more than 20% of the total number of copies at large had been purchased legally, with figures of $2 billion USD in annual losses being circulated. Interestingly enough however, is that unlike the MPAA or RIAA the porn industry hasn’t embarked on its own enforcement and lawsuit campaign targeting pirates.

“At the present time, if you were to take all of the content that is produced by the adult business,” Piccionelli stated, “the legitimate sales currently account for no more than 15% to 20% of the actual numbers of copies that are out there, and the lack of enforcement over the years has left the pirates and consumers with the impression that copying and stealing adult content is something that has absolutely no punitive consequence associated with it whatsoever, and so the industry has really sort of dug its own grave to this degree.”

Also, with the most “ardent” consumers of pornographic material being perpetually young in age and therefore technologically savvy, it means that the problem of P2P piracy will only worsen.

“I would say in the next couple of years, the average porn buyer is what? Between 18 to 35?” Stokes asked rhetorically. “As the younger people who know exactly how to do this [download content] keep coming further and further into our bracket, I would suspect that within the next five years, there’s not going to be anybody that we’re trying to sell product to that doesn’t know how to download it for free.”

The meeting apparently devised several possibilities for solutions, the most interesting being a new “…iPod kind of situation, an iTunes kind of situation where you have scene sales at a low enough price that appropriately deters people from stealing it.”

I think this is probably their best bet, but as well know, DRM is NEVER foolproof.

“What came out of it is,” Stokes added, “we actually have a small group of content producers who are going to meet. We chose five content producers, video and Internet, and some do both, and we have gay and straight and I believe even someone who does transgender, and they’re going to meet this week to continue our steps of action, and we have some legal representation as well. After this next meeting, they’re going to decide the next step on how to get more studios involved because at this point, we’re looking for people who also aggressively pursue this, and if we all do it together, we’ll be able to make a lot bigger impact.”

The porn industry may have finally woken up to the way that technology has forever changed the face of digital distribution, but if it relies too much on legal maneuvering and enforcement strategies it may just find itself in the same sinking boat as the RIAA.

Considering the widespread availability of porn on P2P and for how long, I’m just surprised that it’s taken them all these years to finally figure out where all their profits have been going.