Piracy & Porn

Over on PlagiarismToday, there is an article entitled “What Porn Can Teach Us About Piracy” and in this article the writer looks at how much piracy there is of pornographic content and the lack of lawsuits from the makers of that content. When you compare how much suing is going on in the music and movie industries for pirating content it is interesting to note that the pornography industry is not suing downloaders or even the uploaders but yet the actual dollars being spent on porn is growing. Based on this little factoid, how can the recording and movie industries say that digital piracy hurts sales?

Let us start by stating that you probably should read the article I am referencing. This will help you understand what I am talking about and give you some insight into my thoughts.

With that out of the way, lets begin looking at some of the stuff pointed out in this extremely well thought out and well written article. The first is the following statement

 

Pornographers, no matter what one may think about them ethically, have generally been the first to embrace new technology even as other content industries have been dragging their heels.

 

When you go back and think about it, this statement has so much truth to it. I remember reading about the angle option on DVDs and hearing about it being used in porn DVDs first. I did not experience this concept of multiple angles until I watched Metallica’s Cunning Stunts video. However, the pornography industry has been open to embracing new technologies as they become available. This alone sets this industry apart from the recording and movie industries, who are usually slow to adopt a new technology because they do not yet understand its usefulness. Where other industries slack in keeping up the pornographers seem to eager to stay on the forefront of emerging technologies.

The article goes on to say:

 

Despite the rampant copyright infringement, the porn industry have filed no lawsuits over it. Instead, they’ve tolerated file sharing and, in many cases, even encouraged it by distributing free samples.

 

Now there is an interesting idea, giving out free samples to be freely distributed by whatever means they can be distributed by. Who would have thought that the idea of distributing free content would encourage people to actual pay for it. The thing that a lot of other content makers do not seem to realize is that the people who have money will spend their money in support of good content. So if a company releases a quality product, then people will pay for it even if there is a free alternative. This holds true in just about every industry out there. Another interesting point is that the porn industry is not the only people doing this. Sites like Red vs. Blue, Ill Will Press, or even Ask a Ninja have made money selling physical merchandise. Some of that merchandise includes copies of the free content available on their websites. Red vs Blue has even made money off people donating to their web site, by donating the a user can access pay-only features to the site as well as be labeled a supporter on their profile. In other words, the idea of offering free content and getting people to pay for merchandise works outside of the pornography industry.

I think that the record companies as well as the movie studios can learn a lot from this kind of merchandising. Several sites have proven that people will pay for stuff even if they can get it for free. It is interesting to think about the fact that the porn industry continues to thrive among rampant piracy and without lawsuits. I think the other industries need to learn that the lawsuits against their customers has the reverse affect in most cases and will only lead to furthering the act they are trying to suppress. Criminalizing your customers will turn them into criminals in almost any circumstance. But I doubt we will see very much change in the two industries any time soon.

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