PVV – New Year’s resolution… don’t steal your porn!!

Recently, I got a series of questions in the mail from Mr. R…

“Hello,

I just read your piece ‘Piracy Stripped Down’ found here: http://pvvonline.com/?p=1214#more-1214  Great article, but I do have a question…

Recently I posted to XXX on Twitter the following: ‘[XXX: If I watch a scene of yours for free on the net, do you even get paid for that? Might be a dumb question, but I am somewhat confused]’

Unfortunately, she hasn’t gotten back to me yet… So, do you know the answer? Because I admit I have certainly watched video clips on the internet for free. I never really thought about it to be honest, but I recently got to thinking, how do the actors get compensated for their work? It doesn’t seem like it would be legal. It isn’t legal to post 45 min clips of Hollywood movies, so why would it be legal for this? But it is so commonplace, it has me confused. I mean, why would there be SOOO many clips available for viewing if it wasn’t legal?

I am sure I sound rather naive asking something like that. But truly, I don’t understand it…”

Mr. R’s questions are not naive – many people don’t know how the adult industry works in general, much less the ins and outs of how performers are paid, how producers make money, and what happens when their products are stolen. Given all that, I decided to give Mr. R a(n) overview/breakdown of how things work…

“Hi Mr. R,

Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts – I really appreciate it :) Some answers and info…

With the exception of contract performers (who are few and far between these days), adult performers are paid on a per scene basis. Performers do not receive royalties. In other words, assuming Example Production Entity operates like everyone else does (which it does), XXX was paid a flat fee for her work in Some Adult Film and receives no royalties or compensation beyond that one time payout (unless some exception was made beforehand, which I doubt was the case). This is the way adult performers are paid these days, and in my understanding this is also the way Hollywood performers are paid for their work in general (i.e. Angelina Jolie makes $$ million dollars for one film and gets nothing beyond that unless she cuts a licensing deal of some sort or something like that… I believe that mainstream actors in commercials and syndicated shows and whatnot are the only ones who receive royalties as standard procedure these days)

(fyi: contract performers, individuals who work exclusively with a particular company… like Wicked Girls or Digital Playground girls, are like salaried workers – $$ for a predetermined amount and type of scenes/films/appearances/work/etc; and like their non-contract contemporaries, they do not receive royalties)

So anyway, if for example you have paid to watch something with XXX in it anywhere at all (VOD, DVD, etc), aside from the flat fee she was paid for doing the scene initially, she receives no money for that. If the content is not pirated/the consumer pays to view it, the producer gets that money (minus whatever is parceled out for content delivery services/distribution/etc).

For performers who are also producers (like a performer who owns their own production company and/or operates their own website), they have access to performer and producer money (obvs). In some instances though, in order to save money, a producer who is performing in their own work will opt not to pay themselves a performer fee – times are pretty tight these days.

In instances of watching free content on the internet, with very very few exceptions, the producers are not being paid for this. Some producers have cut deals with tube sites, etc such that they give away a little bit of content to encourage consumers to purchase an entire movie/scene; but to my knowledge, no producer is just regularly giving away entire scenes for free.

So, 99.9 times out of 100, if something is free as you describe, it is stolen. Meaning, WhateverSite.com has somehow gotten ahold of the content and is showing/sharing it for free. These types of sites make money through advertisements, and producers receive no revenue from them. This is a HUGE problem because, as more content is distributed in this way and more folks, who perhaps simply do not realize they are viewing stolen content, opt to not pay for their porn, production companies lose major money. And, as producers lose money/don’t make money back on their investments/projects, this trickles down to the performers. Producers with less money for new projects then have fewer jobs to offer and… well I am sure you can see where this is going – XXX, for example, will have less opportunity to work (as will other performers and everyone else who works behind the scenes in production, etc etc)

aaaand that’s the long answer to your question haha. The short answer is no, in the vast majority of instances, it’s not legal.

And incidentally… the industry let piracy get waaay out of hand before doing something about it, but currently there are many tools in place working to get it in check – services like Takedown Piracy and, honestly, end user prosecution (this is prosecuting the individual who is downloading/watching the free content… this type of prosecution can occur when the pirating sites are outside the US and/or beyond certain legal jurisdictions… this is an icky, very loaded issue)… but all that is yet another huge topic, and this email is already long enough!!

Here are some places where I have written more about piracy:

http://pvvonline.com/?p=250 (piracy basics)

http://pvvonline.com/?p=280 (even more on piracy)

http://pvvonline.com/?p=725 (audio interview with Nate Glass from Takedown Piracy that reeeeally explains the issues)

There is so much more to all this, so let me know if you want me to pepper you with additional info (bc I will!!) I would love to hear your thoughts on any of these things, but generally a good rule of thumb (with anything, not just porn) is that nothing in life is free… so if you don’t have to pay for it (esp a commercial product), there is likely something wrong.

cheers and happy new year :)

c”

And then I saw this bit in XBIZ: “337 Porn BitTorrent Defendants Fingered in Past Week

Basically, the article says that three adult content producers filed claims against a total of 337 “John Doe’s” who had (allegedly) illegally downloaded/shared their respective films. And the real kicker?

“All of the suits seek to order ISPs to disclose user identities of the unnamed defendants and claim damages of $150,000 for each infringement.” (emphasis added)

Holy. Crap!!

Need a New Year’s resolution? For so many reasons, don’t steal your porn!!

* * *

Questions? Comments? Email Dr. Chauntelle!!

Like what you see? Follow PVV on Facebook and Twitter and/or follow Dr. Chauntelle at @DrChauntelle!!

You may quote anything herein with the following attribution: “Reprinted from PVVOnline/Porn Valley Vantage, copyright © Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, PhD (www.PVVOnline.com).”

PVVOnline – Critical Commentary on Adult Production