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Dealing With Copyright Online: Porn v. Music 340

Posted by timothy
from the explicit-comparisons dept.
zzled writes "The New York Times (registration required, etc.) has an article on the porn industry's take on filesharing / copyright infringement. 'Many companies that distribute X-rated material say they do not worry too much about consumers sharing among themselves; they often unleash their lawyers only when someone is trying to profit by copying their goods and trying to sell them.' ... The article isn't particularly brilliant or insightful, but was an interesting read, especially with the explicit comparison to the approach taken by the music and movie industries."
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Dealing With Copyright Online: Porn v. Music

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:26PM (#8215756)
    What most people seem unwilling to recognize is that there's a lot more factors to consider.

    without piracy:
    - Normal customer base (x)

    Most people think:

    with piracy:
    - Paying customers (x')
    - Pirates (y)

    The equation created is x' = x-y meaning piracy has cost you y sales. It's just not that simple. It's more like this:

    with piracy:
    - Paying customers (x')

    Pirates:
    - Those who would have payed if no crack was avaliable - (a)
    - Those who won't pay, but heard of it through piracy - (b)
    - "Try before you buy" who then buy - (c)
    - "Try before you buy" who decide it's not worth it - (d)
    - collectors who pirate, but don't use - (e)

    - New people refered/introduced to by pirates other than (a) - (y)
    - Those who won't/can't buy your program, but donate in other ways - (z)

    I'm not saying anything about anyone's morals, right or wrong, simply how their actions affect the developer.

    The equation now looks like this: x' = x - a + c + y + z*(whatever ratio you consider these donations to be worth)

    Note that b, d and e won't pay no matter what, and so are simply free advertising, and not a lost sale.

    So the only thing those people could cost you is an injury to your pride. Not such a bad thing in my books, perhaps even a good thing. Pride can be quite a detriment.

    Also note, every group except x and d can bring more members to every group.

    The question is: Is a > c+y?
    (Ignoring z, since in most cases it can only be 0: How do you "donate" back to MS? Note this isn't a piracy problem, but rather companies refusing to accept the reality of the world: that these people exist.)

    In my experience, b, c and y are huge factors, while a is very minor, especially in the "shareware" arena where freeware competition is often abundant.
    • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:30PM (#8215775)
      Pirates: - Those who would have payed if no crack was avaliable - (a) - Those who won't pay, but heard of it through piracy - (b) - "Try before you buy" who then buy - (c) - "Try before you buy" who decide it's not worth it - (d) - collectors who pirate, but don't use - (e)

      Pretty good analysis, but once you got to (c) you exceeded the attention span of the average consumer and music industry executive.
    • by monadicIO (602882) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:32PM (#8215792)
      So you're saying porn guys are better at math than RIAA guys? Is that the naked truth? This is indeed revealing. Thanks, you bare the facts so well. I guess there is no point in trying to clothe these figures.
    • Devil's Advocate (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sancho (17056) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:38PM (#8215827) Homepage
      Of course, what really matters is whether they want piracy at all. They can ignore the potential earnings from piracy if they want. Hell, they could stop selling the product altogether, and still legitimately go after copyright infringers.

      But besides, your formula is far too complex and with too many variables that are impossible to even guess. It's a safe bet that there are some people out there who illegally download files to save money, and who would buy the product if they couldn't download it for free. It's not necessarily a safe bet that, by allowing piracy, you'll end up with more overall sales.
    • by Crypto Gnome (651401) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @10:01PM (#8215937) Homepage Journal
      The Drake Equation of FileSharing.

      For those of you who aren't already in the know The Drake Equation defines the possibility of Extraterrestrial Intelligence in terms of a whole bunch of probabilities.

      And just like the above equation, nobody has nailed down exactly what those probabilities are.

      Still, it has officially turned it into something you can calculate, and scientists the world over like to talk of The Drake Equation.
      • Actually, if you pick some reasonable numbers, the answer comes out to... 1. That must be us.

        That, BTW, is from a good book called "Yes, we have no neutrons" [amazon.com]. The relevent section begins on page 63 or so.
      • Ok, well (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770)
        I think I can offer a better one, one that whle you can know the variables for certian, you can make educated guesses at.

        l = p * c * x

        Where l is the amount you lost to piracy, p is the amount you make per copy sold (not the retail price), c is the number of copies pirated and x is the percentage of people that would have actually purchased your product had it been impossible to copy.

        No unlike the Drake equation, we can get information that will allow us to make good guesses at the second two factors. It
    • by nautical9 (469723) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @10:05PM (#8215948) Homepage
      I agree, and I'll expand on your (y) category a bit with a personal example:

      I've been known to play with high-end graphics and sound packages for kicks. I'm certainly not a professional artist by any stretch, but do enjoy seeing what these packages can do. So instead of paying hundreds or thousands for them just to play, I downloaded them from a p2p app.

      Now a bit later, the small start-up I worked for needed some graphic work done for their web site, and I recommended they pick up a copy of the same program, since I had some semblence of familiarity with it and found it quite powerful.

      So, my company buys the product whereas they may not have, and I most certainly wouldn't have bought it for myself (too pricey). One sale because of piracy.

      • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @11:41PM (#8216378)
        Nope, one sale because of a minor bit of copyright infringement. But your point is still valid, and not only is it valid but is the reason why Microsoft backed off on its' "anti-piracy" efforts in China. What they want is mindshare, because they know very well that the infringer of today is the corporate purchasing agent of tomorrow.

        This goes a long way toward explaining why software producers the world over long ago came to terms with infringement by individuals. Technologically it is easy to copy-protect software media: so why don't they? Back in the 80's copy-protection schemes were the rule, not the exception (I know, I wrote and cracked enough of them.) The answers are a. such protection PISSES OFF LEGITIMATE CUSTOMERS which is a dumb idea in a competitive environment and b. would lose them free advertising that they couldn't buy at any price. Sure, while they might prefer that every single copy of their program executing upon any computer system anywhere in the world be paid for up front, enlightened businesses accept a certain level of copyright infringement as a cost of doing business, a cost that may have hidden benefits. Look at the recent Intuit Corporation debacle with Product Activation: it cost them so much business and so much face that they eliminated the activiation requirement and the president of the company issued a formal apology to Intuit's customers! Big mistake, Indy, big mistake!

        Another question. Why aren't there mass lawsuits by the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, and the rest against thirteen year old female Limewire users? I'll tell you why. It's because

        Now, when it comes to true piracy, the selling of bootleg copies for profit -or- the mass utilization of un-paid-for software in a corporate environment ... that's a very different matter. Software vendors and U.S. Copyright law take a very dim view of such things.
    • by 22mcdaniel (713698) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @10:09PM (#8215965) Journal

      I'm not going to get into whether online piracy is right or not. I just think that the porn industry's situation seems different than that of Hollywood and the record industry, and that whatever works for the porn industry might not work for other media makers.

      I'm going on hearsay now, but it seems that there are a ton of porn movies released all the time. Such a bulk of low quality limited distribution titles limits illegal trading. There's enough people out there interested in "Pirates of the Caribbean" that if you go online you're guaranteed to find a download at a decent connection speed. On the other hand, if you were looking for something like "Butt Knockers 2" I would bet my dog and fish you couldn't find it (especially since I made up the name...). The DVDs are released to such a limited audience, and there's just too many titles to be effectively traded online.

    • by Genda (560240) <mariet.got@net> on Saturday February 07, 2004 @10:15PM (#8215993) Journal
      I think that it's sad that people keep applying logic to behavior which is clearly not logical... it shows a certain disconnect with the circumstances at hand and is one of the great weaknesses of this community. Please get that the vast majority of people out there wouldn't know a logical response if it jumped up, and pimp slapped them for twenty hours straight.

      Anybody here ever heard of the Malayan Monkey Trap? It's a hollow log with a hole cut in it to the precise diameter of a monkey's empty hand. Next place a piece of fruit in the log. The first monkey to come along, will reach in and grab the fruit. The monkey being a monkey will die before letting go of that fruit. The hunter can now liesurly walk up to mister monkey and pack his ass into a nice little tote bag.

      What the movie and recording industry is doing is precisely the same on a global scale as poor mister monkey. They don't give a flying FSCK if they're cutting their own throats by employing draconian measures to control the flow of their IP. They see themselves as an endangered species. Worse, in their terror they intend to keep complete and absolute control over who can and who can't use their product under any and all circumstances. In the end, unless they can build a monolithic body of law and enforcement which;
      • Crushes all free flow of information,
      • Eliminates the free creation and distribution of art outside their purview, and
      • Makes illegal the holding of any IP, and/or any machine or method that allows the use of said IP,
      They are doomed to go away because the evolving technology will simply flow around them.

      We are witnessing how frantic survival behavior results in blood ceasing to flow to the higher brain functions. This is fight or flight mixed with pure primate greed... plain and simple. Please stop talking about logic... start talking about how one manages that which is fearful, angry, and irrational. We can expect to see a lot more if this kind of behavior in other areas of global human endeavor, so this should be a good place to practice.

      Genda Bendte

      "The Zen sig, I leave it to you, to bring the meaning..."
      • by Caseyscrib (728790) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @11:22PM (#8216284)
        Anybody here ever heard of the Malayan Monkey Trap? It's a hollow log with a hole cut in it to the precise diameter of a monkey's empty hand. Next place a piece of fruit in the log. The first monkey to come along, will reach in and grab the fruit. The monkey being a monkey will die before letting go of that fruit. The hunter can now liesurly walk up to mister monkey and pack his ass into a nice little tote bag.

        Reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Homer wouldn't let go of the candy bar in the vending machine until they were ready to cut his arm off.

      • More complexity (Score:4, Insightful)

        by 0x0d0a (568518) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @06:32AM (#8217552) Journal
        I think there are other relevant factors:

        * Prescedent. This is a biggie, or has at least been cited as a big worry by the industry. What happens if people get *comfortable* pirating media over P2P? It's a social move that would be very, very difficult to reverse (view cigarettes -- extremely difficult to excise from society after having been introduced).

        * The elimination of certain forms of marketing-driven sales. One of the largest United States macroeconomic benefits is the world's best marketing system. Yes, engineers like to insult marketers, but when it comes down to it, the fact that we can sell Elvis in Mongolia is why Western-produced products are valued so highly, and why so much wealth has been brought into the United States. In the past, it has been possible to sell relatively poor content very well with effective marketing, because one is able to ensure that people are unfamiliar with the product that they are buying until after they buy it. Furthermore, (for movie companies in particular) controlling the format in which viewers see content for the first time can be very important in shaping impressions and building word-of-mouth. If they see it in a darkened movie theater on a big screen with surround sound, they may weight it more favorably than the things they see on their old Zenith on VHS at home. If someone sees a poor-quality rip of The Matrix and doesn't pick up on all the fine CG detail, they may have a significantly lower opinion of the movie. First impressions translate into word-of-mouth, which translate into sales.

        * Control is a big deal. The ability to produce a few higher-priced limited edition releases can be lucrative.

    • How do you "donate" back to MS?

      Assuming pirating from MS: donating back is easy - by providing user assistance to others (which you couldn't do otherwise, being ignorant yourself), and by developing apps and files tied to MS products (a pirate uses MS Word, and so everyone else who wants to read has to get one), and just by consuming other Windows products which at some point you will start buying (or your employer will do it for you.)

      Donating back is not a problem, and MS knows it better than anyone el

    • Missing Poll Option (Score:5, Informative)

      by Liselle (684663) * <slashdot AT liselle DOT net> on Saturday February 07, 2004 @11:09PM (#8216230) Journal
      I have little to add to your excellent post, except another fun category that serves to confuse the matter.

      When it comes to buying games, I belong to both the buyer and the pirate group. I'll buy the game, discover that anti-piracy measures in it serve to inhibit gameplay, and have to go searching for a no-CD crack. Most recent example: KOTOR. I bought the game, I have the nice spiral-bound manual, etc. However, frequently while the game was loading, it would "fail" the original CD check. Sometimes it took upwards of five minutes just to start. Finally got frustrated, found a crack (took a few seconds), patched, and stored the CD elsewhere.

      You know that you have a failure when your copy-protection fails to stop pirates, and inhibits the paying customer. Just in case anyone thought that the **IA was the only group of people who needed a reality check.
      • You're not the only person - the copy protection schemes on the SimCity4 and the CallOfDuty CD seem to be extremely flaky and don't care for my DVD-ROM drive. When starting up those games, 50-50 odds that I'm going to have to reboot (power down / power up).

        It's enough that I've started looking into the No-CD cracks (or figure out how to mount the CD in a virtual drive).
      • I belong to both the buyer and the pirate group. I'll buy the game, discover that anti-piracy measures in it serve to inhibit gameplay, and have to go searching for a no-CD crack.

        No-cd cracking a game you bought doesn't make you a pirate, you aren't infringing on anyones copyright by removing the copy protection. You are of course circumventing copy protection, so the game company could DMCA your ass. I wonder how the case would go in court, trying to prosecute someone for trying to play a game they bo

  • by Gunnery Sgt. Hartman (221748) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:28PM (#8215764) Homepage
    Sharing porn? Just as long as the pages don't stick together.....
    • the good old days (Score:3, Interesting)

      by segment (695309)
      Did you know that during the Guiliani administration in NYC when they cracked down on most of the porn shops along Times Square, that was pretty much one of the basis' for their crackdown... "Peep shows are disgusting places filled with disease bringing down the quality of life."

      I would have to agree that some were filthy, just think about dudes doing the do, and leaving a booth here for a second...

      Anyway as for the sharing, I look at the RIAA in political terms, they're the Neocons pushing for war via WM

      • by corebreech (469871)
        And you know what happened after the crackdown? Average ordinary convenience stores took up the slack. You'd go to buy your six-pack of beer, but not after walking down an aisle lined with porno magazines and sometimes even tapes and DVD's.

        And as this is New York City, there's no need for plain brown paper wrappers to conceal what these magazines are all about. We're not talking about Penthouse or Playboy, but covers that show closeups of ass-to-mouth and animal sex action.

        And this is where kids go to
        • Re:the good old days (Score:3, Informative)

          by niko9 (315647)
          And you know what happened after the crackdown? Average ordinary convenience stores took up the slack. You'd go to buy your six-pack of beer, but not after walking down an aisle lined with porno magazines and sometimes even tapes and DVD's.

          And as this is New York City, there's no need for plain brown paper wrappers to conceal what these magazines are all about. We're not talking about Penthouse or Playboy, but covers that show closeups of ass-to-mouth and animal sex action.

          And this is where kids go to ge
          • Re:the good old days (Score:3, Interesting)

            by corebreech (469871)
            Wow, you're taking this waaaaaaay too personally. Did the chihuahua run off with the missus again?

            LOL

            Yes, there are beastiality pics for sale in the bodegas of New York City. I've seen it with my own eyes. And yes, I've lived most of my life in the area, and just moved out of Brooklyn a matter of months ago.

            So if anybody is full of shit, baby, it is you!

            Or are you going to stand there and tell me what I did and didn't see, in any number of stores in Brooklyn or Manhattan? Been to them all, have you?
    • by kevcol (3467) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:36PM (#8215821) Homepage
      That shouldn't be a problem, after all, we are talking about digital content and the sticky bit was rendered mostly obsolete in *NIX for some time now; you really need to worry about your keyboard.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I present to you, exhibit "XXX", a copy of Pocerhontis.
  • Got Porn? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by super_sekrit (635765) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:29PM (#8215772)
    Sounds like the porn industry is aware of their most successful marketing tool (Yeah, I said "tool"). I would not be suprised if Larry Flint is a major telecom stock holder. Few things drive the demand for bandwidth like a 30 nothing with an erection.
    • Re:Got Porn? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LostCluster (625375) * on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:34PM (#8215799)
      The porn industry has actually been a driver for most video technologies used on the web today. They had the money to pay for them when they were first being made, and they have content that needs to be in the highest resolution available.
      • Are you sure about that high definition part? I've been told that most porn companies aren't going to HD if they can help it. Apparently fuzzy displays help many models look good, and you wouldn't want to meet them in real life.

        My source was the author of this piece [theinquirer.net], but the article gives a different impression from talking to him in person. Make what you will of it.

      • Re:Got Porn? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by tgrotvedt (542393) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @10:26PM (#8216048) Journal
        It is not only video technology that is driven by porn merchants. The quality and smartness of search engines - more specifically, their ranking algorithms - has been totally driven by the tricks employed by seedy online advertisers and money makers, who (almost) invariably focus on pornography in some way.

        Recently, I spent a week at the University of Sydney, coding a search engine for a small chairty site, in Python. A lecturer/programmer who was holding lectures and tutorials for us, named Dr James, explained some of the more common tricks.

        In the beginning it was rather quaint, with things like blocks of text at the bottom of a page that was the same colour as the page's background (and thus rendered unnoticed by most porn-hungry surfers) containing copius amounts of popular keywords, with actual relevancy taking a backseat to the ad-revenue-generating "hit words".

        Then, Google came to the forefront with the Stanford-educated founders' special pafge ranking algorithms (which factored in links to and from the page into an "integrity" score of some sort). The porn folks started creating hundreds of near identical, yet slightly differently located pages (on different domains, and more importantly, different machines), all containing links to one another, resulting in one very confusing, un-trustworthy conglomerate askuing for your hard earned cash. This became the monster that is the experience of going around in circles in these pages, trying to actually get to the.... uh... honey (I recall someone writing an article about the same phenomenon within warez circles). To my knowledge, Google then began to look more thouroughly at content in order to discern what belonged to one "conglomerate" and what was legitemately a seperate entity; looking at headers and IPs was totally uneffective at this stage.

        I was only truly impressed when I heard about this scam: porn merchants actually writing scripts that served dynamic content based on who visited. This ability is obviously legitimately useful and indispensable for many sites providing dynamic content (Slashdot being one of them), but these chaps set it up so that is it was one of Google, Altavista, Yahoo, whoever's machines pulling down a web page for indexing, they got a different page than any surfer who came along. One result was when people searched for Disney, one of the first results' descriptions in Google appeared as Disney's official site, and then when clicked on by anyone, was - surprise surprise - an eshop for a knock-off merchandiser's product-line. Eventually some angry Disney executive contacted the search engine and IIRC legal action was taken.

        Suffice to say, the development of search engines' technology has been fueled by those out to make a quick, slimey buck. The result, however, is not simply better protection from the sleaze; there is a "side-effect" of search results picked even among all-legit sites being vastly superior in relevancy, and a general improvement in the state of computation linguistics which can be applied for other purposes.
  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:31PM (#8215780)
    Content companies, whatever kind they are, have to give away some of their content for free in order to be able to profit on their premium content.

    Consumers are not going to turn over money for content when they can't look inside the box to see what they're getting. If a content pusher doesn't have some free samples floating somewhere, there's no way they're going to be able to convince consumers that they've got the goods inside their sealed box. There has to be a free preview of some kind.

    You're never going to buy a CD from an artist you've never heard sing, therefore some form of advanced sampling has to exist. I guess the porn industry realizes that the same rules apply to them, and since they don't quite yet have the ability to broadcast on the radio, they're letting filesharing do the job for them.
  • by Sabalon (1684) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:31PM (#8215785)
    I suppose you could argue that porn is a vice and that if they get a little for free then they'll get hooked and soon start paying for it.

    Though they seem to be giving it away - tons of web sites bill free porn for me, I just need to give them my credit card number to verify my age....yeah...
    • That asking for a CC number to verify your age is bullshit. The *ONLY* reason that anyone would have business knowing your CC number is if it was going to be charged. Wanna bet that each and every time you enter your CC number "as proof of age" you either end up with a charge on your CC, or else you have to explicitly cancel some subscription before you get charged?
  • Porno (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:31PM (#8215786)
    Lots of porn is homegrown, as in, made by people with a video camera and a rental bus(Bangbus). When this spreads around, it's like increasing the group's ego and contributes to making more episodes.

    -Just my 2 cents.
    • Re:Porno (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mutewinter (688449) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @10:43PM (#8216118)
      Your comment really doesn't make much sense, Bangbus is a commercial site (sounds like you get your porn off of p2p heheh...) Anyways.. The thing is, today, theres a very fine line between homegrown and the big guys. There are alot of new millionaires today who started from scratch. Fuck that, the big guys barely even exist anymore. Just look at how the sales of the major magazines such as Playboy and Penthouse have collapsed in recent year. Alot of mags have had to fold. We have *alot* to learn from the porn industry today other than "they have been a driving force behind technology." If the Record and major media industries lacked the obscene amount of power they have today -- they'd already be gone, just like the big players in the porn industry. But guess what, suprise! Porn isn't dead, in fact its more alive and well than its ever been before in human history! Yes, those lobbyists who say "give us protection or such and such industry is going to die" are completely full of bullshit.
  • Smart (Score:5, Insightful)

    by savagedome (742194) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:32PM (#8215790)
    says it tracks down people who violate its copyright and, as an alternative to a lawsuit, offers amnesty if the infringer becomes a subscriber.

    These guys are smart, aren't they?

  • by RandBlade (749321) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:33PM (#8215798)
    The Pornography Industry vs. Digital Pirates By JOHN SCHWARTZ

    Published: February 8, 2004

    HOUSANDS of Web sites are putting Playboy magazine's pictures on the Internet - free. And Randy Nicolau, the president of Playboy.com, is loving it. "It's direct marketing at its finest," he said.

    Let the music industry sue those who share files, and let Hollywood push for tough laws and regulations to curb movie copying. Playboy, like many companies that provide access to virtual flesh and naughtiness, is turning online freeloaders into subscribers by giving away pictures to other sites that, in turn, drive visitors right back to Playboy.com.

    When Mr. Nicolau is asked whether he thinks that the entertainment industry is making a mistake by taking a different approach, he replies: "I haven't spent much time thinking about it. It's like asking Henry Ford, 'What were the buggy-whip guys doing wrong?' ''

    The copyright rumble is playing out a little differently in the red-light districts of cyberspace. That neighborhood is increasingly difficult to confine, what with a fetishwear-clad Janet Jackson flashing a Super Bowl audience of millions, and Paris Hilton making her own version of a "Girls Gone Wild" video. Professional peddlers say they are hard pressed to compete.

    Still, the business of being bad is very good, especially for the biggest players. Though the industry has felt a financial squeeze during the economic slowdown, it nonetheless has sales of as much as $2 billion each year, said Tom Hymes, the editor of AVNOnline, a business magazine for the industry.

    And the pornography industry, which has always been among the first to exploit new technologies, including the VCR, the World Wide Web and online payment systems, is finding novel ways to deal with the threat of online piracy as well. The mainstream entertainment industry, some experts say, would do well to pay attention.

    Music executives say their campaign of lawsuits has been successful. They say they have spread the word that downloading free music infringes on copyrights and that there could be consequences for large-scale file sharers.

    But the pornography industry has been dealing with Internet copyright issues since the 1980's. By comparison, the movie and music businesses are relative newcomers. Mr. Hymes said companies in his industry had come to realize that suing consumers and promoting "draconian laws" were not the answer. "No law written can stem the tide," he said. And so, he said, companies are seeking ways to live with the technologies that threaten them and are trying to turn them to their advantage.

    That is not to say that the companies have not been harmed by free copying and distribution of copyrighted material online. Mr. Hymes's magazine warned recently that such companies were "losing incalculable amounts of cash" to peer-to-peer file-sharing networks like Kazaa, LimeWire, Grokster and Bit Torrent.

    "As the networks continue to grow and even more sophisticated programs are created, the P2P networks might prove a bigger threat to the revenue stream of the porn world than all the censorious right-wingers in the country put together," the article stated.

    Maybe. But many companies that distribute X-rated material say they do not worry too much about consumers sharing among themselves; they often unleash their lawyers only when someone is trying to profit by copying their goods and trying to sell them.

    When people in the industry talk of copyright, there is none of the grand speechifying about revering artists and rewarding creativity, and the near-tearful paeans to the yeoman key grips and stunt men, as is favored by movie and record executives. Instead, there is just this: We spent a lot of money to get this stuff out to the market. Somebody else is making money off of it. We want the money.

    "We haven't gone after Joe Citizen who's sharing something he printed off something from the Hustler Web site with another guy," said Paul Cambria, a lawyer wh
  • by FrancisR (640455) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:35PM (#8215811)
    Music labels should learn from the porn industry and start spamming everyone's e-mail inboxes with free music.
    • by Dark Lord Seth (584963) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @11:26PM (#8216304) Journal

      Dear god, someone think of the sanity of the users. I mean, every once in a while someone's accidently falls for a forged email by sheer bad luck and a bad situation. ( forged subject line containing something you are interested in and a faked sender with a name you recognize... ) Now, last time I saw a spam mail it contained some nice pictures of 7 men ... "enjoying" eachother's company on a Monday morning. Nothing too bad really. Now, imagine waking up one Monday morning, logging on and instead of 7 men yanking eachother's crank and/or enjoying a ride up the rectal railroad, you get hit with a Britney Spears MP3. :(

      Think of the kids as well and how we are to explain it all! I can explain why men like other men. I can NOT explain why Britney Spears is famous and rich.

  • by asdren (35537) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:36PM (#8215816)
    I can listen to a song more than once.
  • by Flavius Stilicho (220508) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:38PM (#8215830)
    ...not on rock and roll. The Net was built on porn. If it weren't for the porn industry the net would still back in early 90s. Think about it: Porn was the original ecommerce app. So many major internet developments have been in someway infuenced by the porn industry that everyone else making a buck on the net should pay royalties. The recording industry should pay attention.
  • by Mad_Rain (674268) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:40PM (#8215835) Journal
    I think the real lesson that the MPAA and RIAA should take from the Porn Industry is to replicate their highly marketable content...

    Oh, yeah. Too late. ;)
  • by SPYDER Web (717344) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:43PM (#8215850)
    I really think the music companies deserve what they get eventhough right now they are complaining about a loss of 5% when unemployment is at an all time high. I think in the future when more and more bad music comes out and good music is less frequent and MTV decides that Reality TV killed the video star that they will start giving away free music everywhere (note: already started to happen, putting mini-cds on Pepsi lids at fast food joints). I may be overly uptopian but am I the only one who thinks that music shouldnt be an industry? I swear it was a fine art. I also believe in the future when Porn gets less taboo (in america where showing a breast on TV will get you killed, meanwhile the only thing you cant say on the BBC is the CU word)and is more freely accepted they will have to give away less free porn. Music Industry here is a message for you, how about letting us choose between more than the same 10 songs you play on all your radio stations 24/7 it might suprises you but we like variety. The Porn Industry have known this for year, one just has to look at all the different websites out there from Big Booty MaMas to Lactating Grannies.
  • by UpLateDrinkingCoffee (605179) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:43PM (#8215853)
    I don't think that music/movies vs. porn can be compared... porn has a slightly (or not-so-slightly to some) addictive quality to it that music and Hollywood type movies just don't have. The porn industry benefits by wider distribution because exposing people to more porn only increases their appetite. Why do you think the usenet is flooded with free porn? It's not coming from Joe "Porn Wants to be Free" Smith, it's from the industry.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 07, 2004 @10:26PM (#8216051)
      Does a 15-year-old get ostracized by their peers if they don't view the same porn as their buddies?

      Music has a powerful network effect, a fashion effect. With porn, you get what you want (if you want any). With music, it's important to listen to what your social class listens to, or you aren't cool.

      In that sense I think that popular music has a much more powerful hook than porn, because popular music hooks into the near-universal desire to be accepted by one's peer group.

      As far as movie addiction goes, I don't see people camping for two weeks at the porn shop for the next blockbuster to come out, the way they do for Star Wars.
    • Are you telling me that you've never listened to a song or album a few times in a row, unable to get enough of it, at least temporarily? That you've never rushed out to buy the latest release from your favourite artist?

      If so, then I suspect that you're somewhat in the minority on that one.
  • by quantaman (517394) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:45PM (#8215858)
    Why can't the movie and music industries act as ethically as the porno industry!?!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What's their take on sharing of porno music? :-)
  • Laying Low (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wrmrxxx (696969) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:48PM (#8215875)

    I would expect that the porn industry would have a much more difficult time if they did want to take the same stance as the music business. Can you imagine US politicians standing up and proudly supporting them in the same way as they do for the music distributors?

    When you operate at the fringes of your country's moral and legal tolerance, surely the last thing you want to do is attract attention or get involved in legal battles? Of course many will argue (correctly IMNSHO) that the music distribution also pushes the boundaries of morality and legality, but the key difference is that their core business is not directly about sex. Janet Jackson gave us a clear demonstration last week of just how hung up a good proportion of the USA is. In many other nations, this incident would have barely raised any eyebrows, but in the US it's apparently world war three.

    Like it or not, the RIAA's campaigning has won over much public support or acceptance - for every slashdotter who sees them as a menace, there's probably a large number of other people who see them as perfectly reasonable. But pornographers wouldn't get that kind of response and they know it. They're more likely to get themselves shut down than anything else if they raise a stink. As much as I'd like to think their attitude is because the porn business is more enlightened, I think their real motive is more likely just self-protection.

    • by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:56PM (#8215909)
      I would expect that the porn industry would have a much more difficult time if they did want to take the same stance as the music business. Can you imagine US politicians standing up and proudly supporting them in the same way as they do for the music distributors?

      There's also the small matter of economics. The porn producers could spend $50,000 prosecuting one of thier consumers, or they could spend that amount to make five new movies.
    • by wrmrxxx (696969) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @10:03PM (#8215939)
      Yikes, I've just been modded insightful. Mum, if you're reading this, I want to tell you I don't have any special insight into the porn business. Really, I promise.
    • Re:Laying Low (Score:3, Offtopic)

      by I Be Hatin' (718758)
      Of course many will argue (correctly IMNSHO) that the music distribution also pushes the boundaries of morality and legality, but the key difference is that their core business is not directly about sex.

      So I suppose that Britney sells all those albums because people think she's a good singer? Gimme a break... since at least the 50's (Elvis), and accelerating after MTV became popular (mid-80's), music has been about image (read: sex) more than music. The way they pimp out teens based upon their "sex ap

  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:49PM (#8215881)
    so any exposure (pun not intended) is good for them. Plus you can't exactly advertise on prime time tv (superbowl not withstanding). There's a lot less competition in music ( between record labels that is, not artists), and they have plenty of avenues for advertisement. Obviously the RIAA isn't going to be interested in using unauthorised downloads as an advertisment medium.
  • by Lord Kano (13027) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:58PM (#8215915) Homepage Journal
    I have over 11 GB of pr0n on my hd right now, I never paid a cent for any of it.

    I have over 4 GB of music on my HD righ now, I bought most of the CDs that it came from.

    IMO it's also far more likely for people to buy music than pr0n. Someone could be in the mall and happen to see an old CD from an artist that they like and pick it up.

    Nobody is going to see ideepthroat.com's greatest hits on the rack at Best Buy and impulse buy a copy.

    Besides, the pr0n industry has already mastered online content distribution. The music industry has a LOOOOOOONG way to go.

    LK
  • by downix (84795) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @09:59PM (#8215920) Homepage
    Porn was over 1/3rd of all traffic on the net, last time I checked. The amount of money they generate because they have embraced openness has made even Microsoft envious.

    A typical $10k porn movie can generate tens of millions in sale. Just need to slip some clips into a common p2p network with some taglines, and people go out to buy the whole thing. A friend of mine runs several porn sites, makes a comfortable living off of them, providing original content. (5-figure takehome salary, not too shabby) He points out how the movies he has clips of invariably end up his top sellers. And those clips are traded freely on P2P networks. He releases a new clip, putting it on KaZaa himself, sales for it boom in less than 14 days.

    The net is a wonderful technology, if you let it be.
    • by Lulu of the Lotus-Ea (3441) <mertz@gnosis.cx> on Sunday February 08, 2004 @01:29AM (#8216779) Homepage
      ... Porn was over 1/3rd of all traffic on the net, last time I checked

      Another poster also observed that the parent comment is a bit on the absurd side. Not necessarily that the fact is wrong even; but it's not like my personal Apache log shows "traffic on the net." Unless downix works for the NSA, and is leaking some classified information, there's really no way to verify what everyone on the net does.

      BTW, I "5-figure takehome salary" could be $10,000... which I would actually call rather shabby (though if it's for part time work, it might still be good). Claiming something like "high 5-figure" would sound a lot more impressive (i.e. meaning >$50k).
  • If 12-years are doing it, they will hassle you.
    If >= College-Aged students are doing it, they won't do nothing.

    Based on the long and glorious tradition of warez and trading everything under the sun all through the history of computers, and this new data viz. Napster and Kazaa v. RIAA, this theory fits the data.

    So the solution is to trade files but find ways to prevent young kids from doing it. And don't profit from it (the cops always bust the dealers).
  • by DarkHelmet (120004) * <.mark. .at. .seventhcycle.net.> on Saturday February 07, 2004 @10:11PM (#8215972) Homepage
    I do some freelance work for porn companies.

    It's not so much the sharing of material that the companies I do work for care about, but the leaking of passwords onto online sites.

    When a site gets released onto a list, and several hundred people end up downloading 100meg+ movies, that's essentially a slashdot effect for you. Before I ended up implementing a protection system for one company, they spent upwards of $3k/month in bandwidth overages. This was just for one day of password leaking.

    Sometimes sharing porn is good press. That's why all of SW [shanesworld.com]'s images are watermarked, as well as all their videos. That's partly how the word is spread. Of course, making the news on roughly 10 different shows and being contravercial doesn't hurt either :)

    I know of some companies that deliberately leak passwords out onto lists for short periods of time just to drive people to the site. That works quite well. Too bad the music industry couldn't learn from something like that.

    But then, the problem with the music industry is that people only want to pirate well known artists. With porn, sex is sex. No matter whose ass is involved, as long as it's a fine one, people will watch.

    And people will pay. Simple as that.

    • But then, the problem with the music industry is that people only want to pirate well known artists.

      I think this also happens (to a lesser degree, of course) with Porn. There are a few pornstars that are more famous than the rest, and so I guess people that download porn (ok, me among them ;-)) could also download more flicks or pictures from those stars than from the rest.

      Say, Jenna Jameson or Asia Carrera, for example. They're quite famous, and there surely are a lot of p2p searches that go for thes

  • by antin (185674) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @10:12PM (#8215978)
    Doesn't look that way to me... rather it looks like music is becoming porn. Apart from the obvious recent incident with Janet Jackson, we get the ever so slutty Christina Aguilera, and the increasingly less innocent Britney Spears. Perhaps the singers are just trying to get a foot in both markets ;-)
  • by jwlidtnet (453355) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @10:16PM (#8215998)
    Maybe I just have a skewed experience here, but I recall that while many porn sites are indeed AOK with people sharing their content, some are particularly aggressive with regard to its protection and--failing that--prosecution of violators. In particular, I seem to remember at least a few cases in which Titan Media and other producers of gay pornography went after websites that posted pictures and other exerpts from their exclusive content.

    Parts of the porn industry take "piracy" just as seriously as the RIAA and MPAA; a lack of publicizing of the lawsuits, etc. that have resulting might be more of an issue with the underground nature of the subject.
  • by ShiftlessXL (748436) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @10:54PM (#8216166)
    I was busted a few months ago for downloading porn. The scary thing was I had only downloaded a few megabytes worth over the course of a few hours! My cable modem was shut off and I was sent a registered letter. I was able to settle out of court for $75. How embarrassing! Getting busted by the porn industry was the last thing on my mind! So, just to let you know, some porn companies are getting serious about copyright infringement.

    The good thing however is I ordered a premium cable package where they uncapped my modem. When the cable company reactivated my account, my cable modem was still uncapped but I am paying for the basic cable price! That $75 will have paid itself off in 2 months!
  • by Mulletproof (513805) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @10:56PM (#8216179) Homepage Journal
    Ok, a few quick questions-- What's the average budget of making an 'adult' movie? What's the average salary of a pornstar? How much are these movies/VCDs/DVDs sold for? Less than your average record deal, less than your average pop idol and less than your average CD. I haven't done any hard research or dug that deep (ahem), but I'm guessing that even the super star of porn makes dirt compared to your average syndicated recording artist.

    All in all, it's really simple-- The recording industry has a larger power base and more money t protect than triple-AAA porn company. of course, the same can't be said about Playboy or Penthouse, which will rabidly go after infringers. It's not surprising that the companies behaviors reflects the size of their empires...

    • Where you been? Doe the phrase 'oldest profession' ring a bell?

      The porn industry knows well how to make a buck on the internet, while the music industry is just learning how to tie it's shoes.

      Besides, the average career of a pop star is no match for a veteran in the porn industry :)
    • Actually you're half correct. Porn DVDs sell for MORE than your average movie, but cost much much less to create. Think for a good XXX DVD $30 - $40 while the actresses get paid 10 to 15 grand and all others get around 2 - 5 grand per film.

      So you are correct in general but wrong about the prices of the CD/DVD.

      They are however perfect for the method they've chosen to distribute.
  • by K8Fan (37875) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @11:09PM (#8216231) Journal

    The two examples I always pull out are the Grateful Dead and x-rated material. Both had 100% "piracy rates" and both made a lot of money. By the logic of the MPAA and RIAA, both should have been decimated. But that was not the case.

  • by Wedge1212 (591767) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @11:17PM (#8216262)
    if they can get under age people to get porn over the internet. When they're of age they'll be more likely to purchase porn. Just a thought.
  • by ChronosWS (706209) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @11:20PM (#8216271)
    My partner is involved in still and streaming porn production, and according to him porn producers generally want the widest distribution of their content as possible. The deal with porn is that many of the images and videos produced are watermarked with the site name or other source identifier. Since people who consume porn have an effectively infinite appetite, they will continue looking for new porn after consuming their previous download. Whether the content was obtained legally or illegally, it probably has a watermark. If they liked the content, they are more likely, though not guaranteed, to look for additional content with the same source. For those who keep up to date with the latest porn, this will drive customers to their sites. The reason this works for online porn is that they have a well-established web presence and content which is easy to obtain relatively inexpensively. With the sheer volume of newsgroups and other media distributing legal and illegal copies of their content, they have a free and massive marketing apparatus. And again, given the near infinite appetite of the consumer base, even if a large percentage of their content is eventually pirated, there is always more being produced and consumers hungry for the newest stuff they haven't seen.
  • porn ISP (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ccoder (468480) * <ccoder@@@shiznor...net> on Sunday February 08, 2004 @12:48AM (#8216659)
    a major ISP in the area hosts tens of thousands of porn sites, they push so much bandwidth that every user on Kazaa would have had to download at least a few seconds of a video to even compare - and all filesharing does is to increase popularity. To a certain extent, filesharing/newsgroups tends to satisfy the casual observer who would have only paid for a cheap demo anyway, but hooks in quite a few who like what they see.

    I get tired of shitty half assed copies of music and select screener/movies I download - and actually BUY THE STUFF I LIKE. Fuck anyone that tries to mess with my choice - take a clue from the porn industry - generate a little INTEREST with GOOD CONTENT not DISinterest from lawsuits and antagonistic behaviour.

    Porn makes money. Bandwidth costs money - the porn industry saves by relaxing their damn lawyer some of the time. Take a hint, RIAA (or I'm going to charge you for advertising your music next time I turn up my radio, or reccomend a song to someone).
  • What does it say (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @01:30AM (#8216784) Homepage
    When the one group that treats its customers like human beings is the porn industry?

    I'm not entirely sure I want to know the answer and it's almost positive I'm not going to like it.

  • by blair1q (305137) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @01:42AM (#8216824) Journal

    It just goes to show. When you put porn and music together, bow chicka-bow-bow...
  • by ajd (199697) <adam@nOSPAM.adamdavidson.com> on Sunday February 08, 2004 @02:57AM (#8217069)
    Fifteen years ago there were three major producers of Porn and very few distribution companies and they made all the money. Then came video, the 'net, open distribution, and now there are hundreds of Porn companies, most of which make decent money, but no single company makes more than 15% of the whole market. The big three are still rich, but nowhere near as rich or dominant. And there is better porn (also worse porn, sicker porn, more boring porn, every kind of porn).

    This is exactly what will/should happen with music. Just imagine: hundreds of different record companies, all with more or less equal access to the market. You'd have lots of new music--some great, some lousy, some that only you and a hundred others would love. And as much as I love Springsteen, it would be fine with me if he only made $5 million a year and several thousand other bands each made $100,000 a year.

    The problem for the big five record companies (soon to be only three, through mergers) is that they're on such a scale that they simply wouldn't work on a smaller scale. The big 3 porn cos were small enough and nimble enough to adjust down. The big five are terrified. I spoke with a high-ranking executive at one of the big 5 and he said it's about 50/50 they'll be in business in five years. He said he's kind of looking forward to early retirement. But who cares? Get rid of them. In ten years or fifty, there will still be money to be made in music and there will be companies making it. It would be great if there are many small companies instead of a handful of big ones.
  • by rackrent (160690) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @04:23AM (#8217285)
    ...has figured things out. Trading images that contain their copyright has been allowed by a lot of sites as they consider it free advertising and they know it works.

    So the RIAA should recognize that most people don't have the time/patience to download 10 or more songs for an album, but hearing one or two might make them go out and by it.

    Just my 2 cents from a pr0n freak. LOL.

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