PVV – five reasons you should pay for your porn

There are at least five reasons you should pay for your porn.

According to this bit by Steven Shaw on ZDNet (5/25/12), these are the The Five Reasons You Should Pay For Your Porn…

(incidentally, there are more than five reasons why you should pay for your porn; and I, of course, have comments regarding some of Steven’s points, which are in italics after the quoted text)

Summary: Why should you pay for your porn instead of downloading it illegally? Because the consequences of doing so could be costly.

Was that you who was named as a defendant by Raw Films for downloading Bareback Street Gang using Bittorrent?Chances are, if you download enough free porn, you’ll eventually become one of the 220,000 (and counting) defendants in piracy lawsuits filed by porn publishers. These plaintiffs have had mixed success enlisting the courts to compel ISPs to disclose names of customers based on their IP addresses.If you live in the Eastern District of New York and Magistrate Judge Gary Brown catches the case, you’re in good shape: he recently slapped down an attempt to sue multiple anonymous porn pirates.You’re out of luck, though, if you live in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where U.S. District Court Judge Mary A. McLaughlin ruled that “A Doe defendant who has allegedly used the Internet to unlawfully download and disseminate copyrighted material does not have a significant expectation of privacy.” Same story if you try it in London.In the end, I think a combination of the legal system, public opinion and corporate self preservation will shut down these lawsuits. We saw the same pattern with pirated music: by 2008 the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) formally announced an end to its pursuit of individual users.In the meantime, though, I love the excuses defendants in these porn cases come up with:

  • It wasn’t me. Someone else must have been using my wireless network.
  • I wasn’t home at the time.
  • I’m too old to watch porn.

These are the cross examinations lawyers wait their whole careers for.

For now, those excuses have a pretty good chance of working, so as your legal advisor my suggestion if you get named as a defendant in one of these lawsuits is that you use a hard-to-disprove excuse (or three), and stick to it no matter how lame it is, because some judge may believe you … or at least think it’s not going to be possible to disprove you.

That being said, there are five good reasons you should pay for your porn instead of downloading it illegally:

1. To avoid embarrassment

You may not have to pay any money, but if you’re publicly named as a defendant in a lawsuit people will find out: your spouse, your employer, your neighbors, your kids. That you ultimately prevail on the legal issues can only do so much to repair perceptions. It’s bad enough to have everyone thinking you download porn, but if you’re one of the Bareback Street Gang defendants and people look the film up on IMDB they’re going to learn that every cast member is male…”

Ugh mixed feelings here about what I’m gonna start calling “porn shaming.” It’s soooooo embarrassing – shameful, even – to be “caught” watching porn. Although Steven may be making a point here that resonates with members of the general public (let’s be honest: lots of people are a little bit secretive about their porn consumption… cuz society still loves to hate on adult), this rationale is just perpetuating a larger problem. By reifying porn as shameful, it perpetuates peoples’ inability to take it seriously in any respect. 

I have heard the argument made that the adult industry is itself capitalizing on that very same porn shame via the end-user prosecution process (read: “don’t steal porn, or we’ll sue you and then you’ll be sorry and/or then you’ll settle to keep it secret!!”)… This is an interesting point that may not be entirely untrue in some cases, but the fact remains that pirated works are being stolen. Producers have ever right to seek restitution.

And, by the way, I loathe that Steven attempts to make his example extra-shameful by pointing out that “every cast member of Bareback Street Gang is male.” Porn shaming plus queer shaming – classy. (not)

“2. There’s plenty of free porn available online

It may not be the best porn, but you can visit a gazillion different free porn tube sites if you don’t want to pay for porn and don’t want to be doing anything illegal. As long as you don’t mind the popup windows and low resolution, you’re all set. If you want higher resolution and fewer sales pitches, just pay for it…”

You get what you pay for, and if what’s legally available for free does it for you – excellent!! But what Steven is failing to differentiate between here is the relatively small amount of legal free tube porn available and the extreme megaton of tube porn “available” that’s illegal. Certainly you all know how I feel about illegal tube sites buy now, but if not… enjoy links to more than enough info about piracy!!

“3. Porn is cheap

As an alternative to illegally downloading Bareback Street Gang, bear in mind that Bi Now, Gay Later #4 is only $16.99 from Adult DVD Empire. Even if you work at McDonald’s you can probably earn more than $16.99 in the time it takes to deal with managing Bittorrent downloads with Vuze…”

“Cheap” is certainly relative and the point Steven is making is somewhat classist – who says X person has the ways and means to view and purchase content at $16.99 a pop? – but he is also 100% correct. You can get porn for a (relative) song these days, legally.

“4. Porn stars need to make a living

Being a porn star is a tough job. Yes, it’s true that even the most obscure porn actors get to be called stars, but beyond that it’s an exhausting way to pay the rent. Given how much effort these actors put into entertaining you, the least you can do is help support them…”

100% agree – you are taking money, jobs, and livelihoods from people who just as human and complex as you when you steal porn. It’s an asshole move. Plus, I like that Steven gets at the overuse of the term “porn star” – this is lost on most people. (see this Interesting News installment #1 for more)

“5. If nobody pays for porn, it won’t get made

This is the endgame if everybody copies porn instead of buying it: Nobody will produce it. Rather, the only available porn will be from amateurs who do it because they want to. So unless you want all porn to have the production values of Youtube guitar tutorials, and for all the actors to look like the people in those guitar tutorials, you should just pay for it.”

Although the sassy part of me wants to point out that those people in YouTube guitar tutorials are certainly hott and lovely to their partners (why do you gotta be so aesthetic/looks hater classist, Steven?), this point is totally correct. Professional adult content production is a for-profit business… just like most everything else that you have to pay for!! How long would you make things for free? How long would you lose money on a project before you cut it off? Probably/hopefully well before you couldn’t pay your bills.

But perhaps adult content production will start getting funding/subsidies and/or go non-profit? Or, maybe the porn fairies will just magically feed and cloth everyone working in adult? Honestly, that’s probably more likely… 

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Steven’s text and image originally here.

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