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Free Internet Porn Is Legal, Says California Appeals Court 286

Posted by timothy
from the law-abiding-citizens-unite dept.
wdef writes with the lead from a story that may bring you a big sigh of relief: "Free internet porn is not illegal. Nor is it unfairly competing with porn companies who'd rather you paid for your thrills, according to a California Appeals Court, which has dismissed a case against one free site, Redtube.com, as an unfair attack on free speech." Interestingly, this case was brought not by anyone objecting to pornography on moral grounds, but rather by a competitor who reasons that "free" is a hard price to compete with, unless it's against the law.
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Free Internet Porn Is Legal, Says California Appeals Court

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  • Win!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by mace9984 (1406805) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @06:34PM (#35098144) Journal
    a million nerds rejoice!
  • by Eightbitgnosis (1571875) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @06:35PM (#35098158) Homepage
    My right hand might be busy
  • Striesand Effect (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @06:36PM (#35098164) Journal

    And suing and losing is great Streisand effect publicity. Nicely done

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Better yet, he's going to have to pay for all parties' attorney fees, AND costs on appeal.

      (By the way: here's the actual opinion [leagle.com].)

  • by Snaller (147050) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @06:36PM (#35098170) Journal

    In your story, you link to everything else - are you prudes? ;-)

    Anyway, where do they get their stuff from? Its free and its not pirated? Hm...

    • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @06:41PM (#35098210) Journal

      According to TFA, some of the porn studios (evidently the ones who do understand this here intarweb thing) provide free content as a promotional tool for their paid sites.

      • by wdef (1050680) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @06:55PM (#35098374)
        TFA from Arstechnica says redtube is driven by advertising:

        The undisputed evidence showed that Bright obtains most of the videos it shows on Redtube free of charge from advertisers who pay Bright to display their videos containing their ads. Fundamentally, there is no difference between Redtube and a radio station in the early 1900s that broadcasted records it obtained for free from a music store and, in return, told its listeners where the records could be purchased. (See www.oldradio.com/current/bc_spots.htm; last visited Dec. 7, 2010.) In both cases the broadcaster's purpose is not to destroy competition or a competitor but to attract patrons to its broadcast site where they will, hopefully, respond to its advertisers' messages

    • by wdef (1050680)
      Well, my submission - which was just hurriedly copied and pasted from the first para. of the article - does say "Redtube.com". Umm, you mean that doesn't look like a url to you? I can't believe you can only point and click.
    • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @06:53PM (#35098352) Journal

      Why link? We all have it bookmarked anyway.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Who needs redtube? Go check out imagefap.com and moviefap.com for tons of free pics and videos. Just about any kink covered, including some quite disgusting ones!
    • by msauve (701917)
      So is redtube republican porn? I assume there's also a bluetube, with democratic port. (greentube for the green party?)
  • Retarded logic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ravenspear (756059) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @06:39PM (#35098186)

    They basically argued that for something to be "free as in speech", it has to NOT be "free, as in beer".

    There are plenty of other people who feel this way, like the **AAs, the BSA, the AAP etc.

    It's time for big business to realize that capitalism does not require anyone to give you money for your offerings.

    • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @06:51PM (#35098334) Homepage

      Porn wants to be free.

    • by jeko (179919) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @06:55PM (#35098376)

      It's time for big business to realize that capitalism does not require anyone to give you money for your offerings.

      No, but it works so much better when you can arrange it that way.

      Corporations have money, but no political power. Politicians have political power, but no money. It's a "no-brainer win-win" for both sides.

      Don't like it? Well, looks like you should have picked your parents with a little more care, doesn't it? Personal Responsibility, FTW!

      • by celle (906675)

        "...you should have picked your parents..."

        Since when did I pick my parents? If so, I want a refund.

    • by wdef (1050680)
      Right. New business models (for music and much web content) make money on artefacts associated with enjoying the content or associated fashion (in the case of music for eg). Andbanner ads. High quality versions of the content might still have some life left in them until buffering delays are a thing of the past and streamed content is cheap, easier and more convenient than Bittorrent. Or while new tech like 3D breathes new life into optical media sales.
      • by muindaur (925372)

        Abney Park(steampunk band) doesn't have free music all the time(ocasionally they give a song away), but they do have their own steampunk fashion line(stuff made by their stage costume designer.) So that idea isn't really far from where it could be. T-Shirt sales too as they are cheap to make, and can go for more than a CD.

      • by Pharmboy (216950)

        Part of the issue is that commercial music used to be scarce. It took money to buy instruments, record the music, press a vinyl album, tour. Even lessons to learn to play took money.

        Now, thanks to the internet and autotune, the cost to produce a reasonable quality song in a distributable format is almost zero, and everyone and their uncle is doing it. Some people want to sell it as if it were still a scarce resource, when it fact it is a cheap commodity with more supply than demand. Particularly since t

    • It's time for big business to realize that capitalism does not require anyone to give you money for your offerings.

      Unless we're talking about a capitalist republic, and it affects interstate commerce, in which case, even if free and doesn't cross state lines, it IS interstate commerce and therefore taxable, thus requiring someone to give everyone else some money.

      this is a troll, YMMV

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      They basically argued that for something to be "free as in speech", it has to NOT be "free, as in beer".

      Long live open-source porn.

  • The article's server or redtube?

  • Uh, what? Looking at RedTube, it's full of professionally produced porn. I had always assumed they were just pirating the materials they were streaming. Is this not the case?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In the article they say that those are teasers that are put there by the companies themselves as a form of promotion.

      RedTube get a cut of all the people that sign up in this method too.

    • by Stregano (1285764)
      And you call yourself a nerd. Tisk Tisk

      Porn comes from 1 of 3 places on streaming sites, from the companies themselves that produce dvd's, amatuers, professional girls who have their own sites (similar to the way the big companies do it). Are you telling me that you never noticed all of the ads everywhere in porn sites? Or what about the little webcams that popup for you to click on on the bottom right?

      So, I take it you are slightly out of the porn loop. Maybe you are married now or something (I d
      • by Stregano (1285764)
        Sorry, I missed an important aspect to this. Most commercial streaming sites like YouTube, CollegeHumor, FunnyorDie, MYV.com will add have ads before the video, after the video, and sometimes in between. Porn, you get an add sometimes when the movie is buffering, but once it is done buffering, NO ADS!
        • by fishexe (168879)

          Sorry, I missed an important aspect to this. Most commercial streaming sites like YouTube, CollegeHumor, FunnyorDie, MYV.com will add have ads before the video, after the video, and sometimes in between. Porn, you get an add sometimes when the movie is buffering, but once it is done buffering, NO ADS!

          SHHH! Don't give them any ideas...

  • The few times I've been to sites like in the article, over half of their material appeared to be scenes ripped from DVDs. I wonder if they have permission from the copyright holders for that stuff. Just seems to be yet another bunch of businesses that profit from stuff illegally uploaded and the amount of time it takes the right-holders to find it and yank it with a DMCA takedown notice.

    • But it doesn't matter. There wasn't even a DMCA takedown notice or anything with copyright infringement. This was a guy who tried to say that something was illegal simply because he couldn't compete with it.
      • by toejam13 (958243)
        Right, which is BS. If some guy can convince a 1000 college girls to strip naked every month and post their videos to his site for free, more power to him. The established pay sites are just going to have to come up with a compelling reason why their sites are better. If they can't, then they will fail.

        My observation was just a general one and not specifically with regards to this lawsuit. But it is an observation with merit. In some circles, if you admit to paying for porn (as opposed to finding it
    • by wdef (1050680)
      Doh, RTFA.
  • professional porn producers put in extra effort with things like lighting, camera quality/angles, timing and the physical attributes of the 'models'

    sites like xvideo and the like largely consist of amateurs filming themselves in a darkened room with the camera shaking all over the pace.
    The professional porn producers should utilise those kind of free sites and offer "teasers". Some of the indie one are doing just that.....
    • That's not always true. Professional studios will often use shaky cam to capture that visceral feel.

      It works too. I hear a number of porno veterans walked out of Shaving Ryan's Privates.

    • by wdef (1050680)
      Redtube has many scenes from high production value pron and name stars. Or so, er, someone told me ;=)
    • by nanospook (521118)
      yeah but amateurs are going at it for real, not faking it.. and some of them are really good at it!
  • Well, NO SHIT (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chaonici (1913646) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @06:48PM (#35098308)

    The first time I heard of this lawsuit was yesterday, and I was absolutely appalled at the audacity of the plaintiff to assert that someone providing free porn was illegally undercutting professional porn studios.

    Jesus Christ, I'm glad this lawsuit decided turned out the way it did. Think of the precedent it would have set had the plaintiff won. The recording industry could sue indies who release their music under a Creative Commons license, claiming unfair competition. Same with the movie studios and sites like Vodo. Or companies that sell encyclopedias versus Wikipedia. Or hell, Microsoft and Linux.

    From the complaint:

    "The ubiquitous distribution of free adult videos through redtube.com has had a massive negative impact on the business model of adult website proprietors,. Now that consumers have the ability to watch high quality adult videos for free on redtube.com, fewer are making the choice to pay other adult website proprietors for the same content."

    If you have a difficult time competing with free, that's your problem. You have no business whatsoever trying to get the government to interfere on your behalf.

    • by vlad30 (44644)
      I just saw it as great advertising for redtube
    • Exactly. This is by far the silliest lawsuit I think I've heard of. You don't (and shouldn't) have the right to make money. You should have every opportunity to make money so long as you aren't harming others, but if you can't compete with what others are offering, you have no right to complain. Just because you have been making carriages all your life doesn't give you an excuse to ban the cars for losing your job.
      • by fishexe (168879)

        Exactly. This is by far the silliest lawsuit I think I've heard of.

        Even sillier than the one Slashdot covered 3 months ago wherein a civil defense attorney was sued for selling kits that made defending against junk lawsuits too easy?

      • by mog007 (677810)

        I'd say that if you can't compete with others, you have a right to complain. You just don't have a right to have the government attempt to buttress your failing business model.

    • by wdef (1050680)
      That's it in a nutshell. Well put.
    • Re:Well, NO SHIT (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @07:17PM (#35098664) Homepage

      The short summary is that they're the SCO of porn producers. Hell, SCO claimed the GPL was unenforceable, unconstitutional and void [theregister.co.uk] because Linux was pummeling it, Their PR campaign made the Iraqi information minister look honest.

    • There is precedent. They're called anti-dumping laws.
      • by _0xd0ad (1974778) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @08:47PM (#35099500) Journal

        Anti-dumping laws are designed to prevent someone (who has the ability to make a high initial investment) from gaining a monopoly by selling product at a loss in order to drive competitors out of business. The intent of this, obviously, would be to gain a monopoly, then raise prices exorbitantly high and make back their original loss quickly. Then with their monopoly they would be fairly immune to up-coming competitors, since a high initial investment would then be required to enter the market, and the company dominating the market could simply drop their prices again to force small competitors to go bankrupt.

        If you're profiting from it all along, you're not "dumping"... and if you do drive the higher-priced competition out of business and happen to gain a dominant position in the market, you still can't price-gouge anyway because if giving it away is a viable business option then there's no barrier to entry into the market. If you tried to gouge prices someone could just undercut you similarly.

    • by snookums (48954)

      From the complaint:

      "The ubiquitous distribution of free adult videos through redtube.com has had a massive negative impact on the business model of adult website proprietors,. Now that consumers have the ability to watch high quality adult videos for free on redtube.com, fewer are making the choice to pay other adult website proprietors for the same content."

      Was the plaintiff a stooge? The "complaint" sounds like a press release from redtube.

      This is just too close to the TV advertising trope of "Mock news story on aggrieved producers of X suing/vandalizing/attacking producers of new, superior product Y".

  • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @06:50PM (#35098324) Journal

    From the judge in TFA:

    The undisputed evidence showed that Bright obtains most of the videos it shows on Redtube free of charge from advertisers who pay Bright to display their videos containing their ads. Fundamentally, there is no difference between Redtube and a radio station in the early 1900s that broadcasted records it obtained for free from a music store and, in return, told its listeners where the records could be purchased. (See www.oldradio.com/current/bc_spots.htm; last visited Dec. 7, 2010.) In both cases the broadcaster's purpose is not to destroy competition or a competitor but to attract patrons to its broadcast site where they will, hopefully, respond to its advertisers' messages

    I was under the impression that rights holders were either paid for the use of their song on the radio, or they paid for it to be played on the radio. In either case, you can't play something on the radio without a license. If this guy holds the copyright to something RedTube streams, he can file a DMCA complaint. If not, he can FOAD.

    • by Chaonici (1913646)

      FOAD it is, because there was no allegation of copyright infringement in this suit. Just that someone providing (original, in this context) free porn is illegally competing with paysites that offer professional porn. That's it.

    • Slashdot 2.0 sucks.

      Your sig is out of date. The renewal fee is $15.

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @07:05PM (#35098494) Homepage Journal

    anybody who offers ANYTHING below MY PRICE must be declared illegal.

    You see, it doesn't have to be free, it just has to be less expensive than my offering, and presto, it would be illegal.

    By the way, from now on I am selling EVERYTHING and ANYTHING costs at least a 1,000,000 dollars a piece or a pound.

    • by GryMor (88799)

      I'll take a gram of anti-matter please. Don't forget to package it securely.

    • by Dhalka226 (559740)

      That's... not a logical conclusion at all.

      Selling something below cost* is a clear indication that you're trying to drive competitors out of business -- so you can then jack the prices up beyond what they were charging. Otherwise why would you do it? Why not just compete by offering something a little cheaper than them? You're losing money. The only reason companies are willing to lose money, voluntarily, is because they feel it is going to make them more later. In a situation like that, everybody ot

  • by khallow (566160) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @07:08PM (#35098542)
    It's worth noting here that this lawsuit happened only because of the California Unfair Practices Act, which is a remarkably bad piece of law. The "free porn" provided by Redtube was dumping of product below cost, an act which is considered illegal, not just "unfair" by the law. Not everyone will be able to count on free speech to defend their industry from the stagnating impositions of this law.
    • The "free porn" provided by Redtube was dumping of product below cost

      If I read the decision correctly, the judge has found "below cost" part is simply not true - RedTube is payed by advertisers and paid sites which get subscriptions (from demo videos they put up on RedTube).

    • by MarkvW (1037596) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @07:39PM (#35098884)

      It's not a bad law.

      Imagine that you sell oil to people. You sell at a price that people are glad to pay and you have fantastic customer loyalty. Next, imagine that RIAA Oil Company decides to move into your market. They GIVE oil away for a full year. They can afford this because they are RICH. You can't compete with free. You try, but after a year, you are forced to go out of business. After you go out of business, RIAA Oil Company jacks up their prices. In a few years they recoup their losses. Prices are now much higher and consumer satisfaction sucks.

      You are unemployed. Nobody cares about you because you believed in the imaginary thing called a free market. But people are worried for the consumers who ultimately are the ones victimized by the RIAA Oil Company's predatory policies.

      The free market does not exist. What we CALL a free market is really a bunch of people who fight like mad to try to dominate the marketplace by forming cartels and monopolies. If we don't regulate them, they will regulate us--far more than any government can.

      The California law wasn't enacted because liberal freakazoids had a theory that they needed to put into law (like the Tea Partiers and their theories). This law was the product of historical experience. Read about Standard Oil and what they did!!!!! Read about the Railroad companies at the turn of the 20th Century. Those businesses were absolutely ruthless and screwd consumers got these kinds of laws passed.

      • Capitalism does lead to market manipulation, but outlawing discounts like some European countries do doesn't seem right either. Seems like it is more about protecting big business than consumers, since new companies tend to price lower while large ones can more easily dominate through acquisition than competition. And how can such a law even make sense when the price of oil is set by cartels and the price of most products is set by the Chinese government?
      • by PPH (736903)

        Imagine that you sell oil to people. You sell at a price that people are glad to pay and you have fantastic customer loyalty. Next, imagine that RIAA Oil Company decides to move into your market. They GIVE oil away for a full year.

        You pull your tanker trucks up to the RIAA pumps and fill up. Your cost just dropped to zero.

        I know. Bad analogy. But is sounded like it had something to do with cars.

      • Maybe that's not really a problem?

        Maybe instead of whining about how your business model got destroyed, you should either come up with a new business model or enter a new industry?

        Sure, you say that customers are the ones who are ultimately victimized...but once customers get used to paying a certain low price for something, then when it gets jacked up they will feel they are being cheated. And this will create alternative avenues for competitors, competing industries and whatnot to have a chance. People do

  • SLAPP damages (Score:5, Informative)

    by MarkvW (1037596) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @07:15PM (#35098636)

    Every claim but one got hammered with attorney fees.

    The one that got dismissed, but not hit with attorney fees was a claim based on a California statute that bars a vendor from selling or giving a product away for less than the vendor paid for it. Again, the plaintiff lost that one, but the defendant didn't get SLAPP sanctions for that.

    SLAPP stands for strategic lawsuit against public participation. Anti-SLAPP laws are enacted to keep people from using crap lawsuits (or fear of them from) stifling free speech.

    Reflect back on McDonalds' legal attack on the people who criticized its food. Anti-SLAPP laws are enacted to punish that kind of crap.

  • by gstrickler (920733) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @07:16PM (#35098658)

    ...prostitution has been competing against free for thousands of years, and it show no signs of a slowdown.

    ...radio and broadcast TV are free. Cable, Satellite, and PPV are alive and well.

    ...there is that whole FOSS thing. Microsoft and Apple just announced they earned how many Billions?

    You just need a business model that allows you offer more value than "free".

    • by nut (19435)

      ...prostitution has been competing against free for thousands of years, and it show no signs of a slowdown.

      Parent poster doesn't have a girlfriend or he would know there is no such thing as free sex.

      • Parent poster doesn't have a girlfriend or he would know there is no such thing as free sex.

        PP obviously hasn't had a one night stand or he would know that there is.

      • by celle (906675)

        "...no such thing as free sex."

        Oh ya. How true, how true. There's always a price.

  • I mean, if you try to sell porn across state lines, some overzealous, butthole-of-a-sheriff in Florida might extradite you for obscenity charges.
  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @08:58PM (#35099574)
    The sites only free because it's covered in advertising. If that were illegal, wouldn't that make the entire internet illegal?
  • Free as in Pr0n, not as in beer!

  • The term "issue of public interest" has been given a very broad interpretation. Indeed, in Nygord, Inc. v. Uusi-Kerttula (2008) 159 Cal.App.4th 1027, 1042, the court stated that for purposes of the SLAPP statute an issue of public interest is "any issue in which the public is interested." The requirement that the speech be of "public" interest is satisfied if the speech is of concern to a substantial number of people. (Rivera v. First DataBank, Inc., supra, 187 Cal.App.4th at p. 716.) Cammarata and Bright a

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