By J. DeVoy
This surprisingly sober (and thoroughly whiny co-worker-safe) video from the Free Speech Coalition addresses the problems piracy causes in the adult entertainment industry. For several years, “Tube” sites such as YouPorn, which feature content uploaded by amateurs and pirated from professionals, have taken a significant bite out of the industry’s earnings.
The video’s most salient point is made about one minute in by director Will Ryder: Torrents can lead to criminal liability because of what users don’t know they’re downloading. In the halcyon days of Alberto Gonzales’s tenure as Attorney General, child pornography prosecution by the DOJ and US Attorney’s Offices across the country was in high gear, and that illicit content was showing up in all kinds of unexpected places — namely as parts of torrent files. When someone downloads a torrent, he or she gets the end file from dozens, even hundreds of other people allowing the downloader to copy portions of it off of their hard drives. Other files can get scooped up in this process, including child pornography. This happened with non-trivial frequency, and US Attorney’s Offices brought charges against the people who had these files, which were identified through whatever mechanism the DOJ and FBI used to identify and track them. (Even if I could disclose this information, I wasn’t privy to how it was done.)
There are statutory carve-outs in the United States Code that protects people unknowingly in possession of child pornography. Under 18 USC § 2252(A), a person must “knowingly” fulfill the conditions of the statute to be guilty, so someone who has no idea he or she has the content may escape liability. Under subsection (d), a defendant can raise an affirmative defense if he or she:
(1) possessed less than three images of child pornography; and
(2) promptly and in good faith, and without retaining or allowing any person, other than a law enforcement agency, to access any image or copy thereof—
(A) took reasonable steps to destroy each such image; or
(B) reported the matter to a law enforcement agency and afforded
that agency access to each such image.
Any guesses as to how many people out there would know about this provision? Would even think to Google for it? I’m thinking zero. And woe unto the person who discovers more than three images. As with most things, an ensuing cover-up of deletions would be worse than the crime. The easiest, most effective solution simply is to not pirate anything through torrents. Not porn, not software, not music — nothing.
Another highlight from the video: Lisa Ann dramatically taking off her glasses in the first segment. It’s an old and clichéd move, but it always works; I bought glasses for the sole purpose of doing it.
Finally, the industry describes what it will do to fight piracy:
Many adult-film producers within the last month have begun employing fingerprinting technology to track online copyright infringement, Cachapero says. (Source.)
Overall, a good idea — one that Trent Reznor developed the early 1990s to identify which of his friends would leak his highly controversial, ultra-limited-release Broken video. Universal Records has already indicated its intentions to watermark its musical releases as well. While there may be technological impediments making this move more difficult for the adult film industry, it may be a good way to see where links are originating, especially if content is being released on multiple formats or through more than one distribution channel.