5 Ways YOU Can Fight Porn Piracy

by Jiz Lee on / Goals and Ideas, Queer Porn

One of the biggest issues facing the adult industry is piracy. In the days of VHS and DVD, file sharing between fans meant burning a copy and hand-walking it over to your buddies. I had an old college friend tell me she was given an untitled disc from a pal of hers who said “this is the hottest porn I’ve ever seen — you have to watch it!”. She popped it in her computer and found it was “The Crash Pad“. (And amusingly found out I was doing porn.) While it was a funny story, I was disappointed her friend didn’t think about buying her the DVD as a gift, instead of burning the copy.

Fast-forward six years later and very few of us watch films on DVD anymore. We now can stream videos online and download them directly to our hard drives. File sharing is easier than ever and it only takes a minute to find a free version of virtually any movie you’re looking to watch. (And in many cases, a free film is more accessible if the payment method is one you don’t have access to, or you want to watch it immediately it’s only available to be shipped DVD.) At this moment, thousands upon thousands of torrent and tube sites provide access to free porn, capitalizing on visitor traffic, advertisements and making money off of content they didn’t produce.

Piracy has severely hurt adult businesses, only a few of whom can afford to fight back through lawsuits and propose new online sale tactics. Studios send “Cease and Desist” letters to each and every site discovered; it’s a time-consuming process that puts the companies at as much risk for virus attacks as it does consumers. Some companies have banded together, as the concern has many producers committed to finding a way to stop porn piracy by 2012. Others have made efforts to educate consumers, who may not realize they are doing anything illegal. Here’s a campaign created by the Free Speech Coalition, directed by Michael Whiteacre and produced by Joanne Cachapero. While it appears to be an upstream battle with more dislikes than likes and over 500 negative, insulting comments about the stars (who include my friends Sinnamon Love, Kimberly Kane and Joanna Angel), the video it is a valiant effort.

In addition to my day job, I also work behind the scenes with Shine Louise Houston and her website CrashPadSeries.com. I’m someone who personally values Shine’s work and is passionate about the success of progressive and especially queer and indie pornographers who I think bring sex-positivity, education, and visibility to our marginalized experiences. So it is difficult for me to see my own community furthering piracy of porn that was made for them. If you search “Crash Pad Series” in almost all cases, you’ll see a torrent site. If you search “Jiz Lee”, you’ll also see results to pirated porn (with insulting descriptions, no less). The people who click and watch these links are NOT supporting me. Furthermore, it makes me feel exploited, something I’ve yet to feel in any of the work I’ve done. As I’ve said online numerous times: the only time I’ve felt exploited in porn, is through piracy. Ironically, I think it’s something done by fans who don’t know any better.

I’ve seen fans publish tumblr posts with links to clips on pirated sites. I’ve contacted some, and they apologize and take it down, stating that they didn’t know. I believe them. It can be confusing with so much porn out there. Some people may not feel like sharing the content is doing harm. In fact some people may think they’re doing a favor! I’ve even seen a customer of queer porn post the login password to their subscription via their public twitter account. Whoops! That’s a big no-no and is specifically listed in the terms of service of all membership websites. One free porn clip I saw of a scene of mine had over 76,000 views. Imagine how much money the company could have made if all the people who watched for free had chosen to purchase the scene online or to buy that DVD directly from the company.

I would LOVE Shine Louise Houston to be able to make and cast me in another feature film (her last one, CHAMPION: Love Hurts, was phenomenal and won Feminist Porn’s “Movie of the Year” as well as an AVN Nomination for “Best Video Feature”!) I would love for her to be able to shoot for Crash Pad Series more than once a month — imagine how many queer performers, videographers, photographers, and video editors she could hire if she shot as much as once a week! Shine’s company, like many small producers have slowly grown over the last few years, working on sustainable business models within a niche genre of the industry. We’ve had to grow our own market of consumers, many of whom are turned onto porn for the first time when they see that there are performers they can relate to.

It’s understandable to not know that pirating porn is illegal. I hope this list of five ways the average consumer — and maybe some others involved in the industry — can work to educate one another and help our work blossom.

5 Ways YOU Can Fight Porn Piracy

1. Don’t repost or share links to free porn sites.
How do you know it’s pirated material? (Here’s a hint: if I’m in it, and you’re watching it for free, 99% of the time that means it was stolen!) And if it’s on a site called “FreePorn.com” or something like that, there’s a good chance it’s pirated. My friends and I are paid to perform, so it’s never just put online for free. Please value our work!

2. Educate others who link to free porn sites.
Be an advocate. A porn hero! If you see the link posted on Reddit, Tumblr, a blog, wherever… just send a simple message to the site owner or an @reply to your friend to let the person know what you think about porn piracy. Link to this post if you want. In most cases, they didn’t know better!

3. Keep User-generated Tube Sites User-based
Sometimes companies work with affiliates and post teaser clips to tube sites to attract potential customers. However a lot of pirated porn is uploaded to tube sites by people who are abusing the site’s Terms of Service. What to look for? If you recognize an adult performer or a company’s film but don’t see a company watermark, link or credit, it’s a good chance that user uploaded it illegally. Flag, Report, and Notify the tube site’s customer service to alert them.

4. Become an Affiliate
Send good links out to the web! You can support companies by sharing links to their sites through an affiliate programs. Join sex-positive companies like goodvibes.com (which produces a lot of the porn titles I’m in), hotmoviesforher.com, crashpadseries.com, queerporn.tv, enterbelladonna.com, joannaangel.com, buckangel.com, and many more. If you’re new to affiliate programs, scroll to the footer of websites and look for “affiliates”, “webmasters”, or “make money” and click to read more! Post on your websites about the porn you love and use these new links to send readers to purchases that will make everyone happy.

5. Buy porn!
The best way to support the porn you love is to purchase it. Many performers have personal websites where you can find links to their work. My site has a films page, websites page, and links page and a click from these pages will support my favorite companies. Buying porn from the performers and companies sites, and from those who sell their work, is the most direct way to support our growing industry. Put your money where your politics are!

Thank you for being a supporter, a fan, a friend, an ally and advocate. If you’re ever in doubt, ask me! You can comment here, or find my email address up in the sidebar. Together we can kick porn piracy out of our queer and sex-positive spaces.

Jiz Lee

15 Replies to “5 Ways YOU Can Fight Porn Piracy”

Carmen Hollywood

Jiz,
First, I’d like to say congratulations on “Movie of the Year” and nomination of “Best Video Feature”. Second, thanks for writing this and helping us all promote and make money in this crazy industry we’ve chosen. We all need to support each other.
Kisses,
Carmen

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Alan Barros Nogueira

Jiz,

Wonderful text as always. I live in Brazil, a country where piracy seems endemic. I even headr lots of jokes about my mania of buying and Importing DVDs (I love to collect, I love to see the DVDs on my shelves). I am afraid that I can never put my visions on porn because of the brazilian mania of piracy. But I will always buy porn.

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Ms Naughty

Well said, Jiz. I totally agree. If you want to see progressive, positive porn then you need to be prepared to pay for it. Because that helps the producers to make MORE positive porn.

I do wish Google wouldn’t give priority to the piracy sites, that would help. There’s something very depressing about those sites appearing above the legitimate producers in the listing.

If I may post a link… here’s my thoughts on this topic:
http://www.msnaughty.com/blog/2009/12/07/why-you-shouldnt-assume-all-porn-should-be-free/

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DucatiGuy

As a performer (in a totally different field!) and a big Jiz fan, I’m not so sure. I think you can actually build your market by making some of your stuff available for free. For example, kink.com seem happy to see their previews distributed widely while continuing to charge those who want to see more.

Take iTunes for example – they make it easy to transition from listening to stolen music, to paying a buck or so for a track which gives guaranteed quality and a warm feeling about doing the right thing, to buying whole albums. Evidently the returns are good enough for them to stay in business!

I think the porn game needs to distinguish between those who want 30-60 secs of beat off material – and who are never going to pay for it – and those who want a much richer experience. Personally, I’m happy to pay my CrashPad subscription because the site gives me an experience that’s almost like being there. And, here’s the rub – I first heard about CrashPad from someone who sent me a stolen episode.

In contrast, a porn DVD is a commodity that’s just asking to be passed around.

In other words, I think the industry has to quit whining and get smarter. Fortunately, I think the women and tg people who are now coming to the fore are well capable of doing that.

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Jiz Lee

Thanks Carmen!
This is definitely a supportive industry, I’ve met so many people I could call ‘family’ working here. 🙂

Thank you Alan,
As I understand it, there is less regulation in Brazil? I’ve known some companies who have shot there, though I think it was also chosen due to the beautiful locations. Thank you for your comment!

Ms. Naughty,
You’re one of my all-time porn heroes. Thank you for the link to your blog post! And, I definitely agree about feeling very disappointed that Google’s algorithms would propel high-trafficked tube sites over original site sources. Boo on that!

DucatiGuy,
Thank you for your comment. I understand some “word-of-mouth” is beneficial. However that friend who sent you a stolen episode could have easily sent you a link to the site itself, which hosts teaser trailers. I can’t help but feel personally hurt by hearing about a stolen episode. It actually feels non-consensual.

I’m all for companies using promotional materials, including 30-60 second clips like the ones you saw Kink.com use for their affiliates on tube sites. But a few seconds of intended promo is different than a full scene, and someone never buying porn. Thank you for continuing your CrashPadSeries.com membership. It’s thanks to people like you that the site can continue to exist.

At the moment we’re on the verge of a redesign and talks with piracy prevention companies that I believe will alter some things about piracy content for CrashPadSeries.com. In the meantime, thank you and everyone for understanding that porn is a business as much as it is entertainment.

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Ali Oh

This is amazing! I love that you’re such an advocate for sex-positive porn and for the rights of creators to their intellectual property. Keep up the amazing posts.

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Matt/David

In different times, relying on the “honor” system might be a viable alternative. But we live in difficult times, where right and wrong sometimes merge. My soapbox aside, you hit the problem right on the head. The market used to produce a tangible product where quality was, to a certain degree, limited. Now we have “digital,” where supply can be inflated with the push of a button. This, from a Austrian Economics standpoint, always crashes fair market value in the long term. Hopefully the industry will find a way to address this, people deserve to get paid for their art.

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madeofwords

[…] first saw this in a post by Jiz Lee on their website. Now, I recognize that if you’re reading here, you probably already pay for porn. And if […]

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Nenna

Jiz, right on point with this an 99.9% of every other article you have writen. As a new director whom has found my 1st film out on torrent sites, I was excited at first but began to really looking at the numbers and loss of sales. One thing is for sure, I believe getting the cast members out in communities that support great porn will help to increase great porn consumers.

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Chris Lowrance

I know of a cartoonist who did a little, cheap, made-on-a-Xerox comic that was only for sale in print… and he found it’s on torrent sites. Which leaves you wondering who thought it was a better use of time to painstakingly scan each page, rather than tell people where to find it for a buck.

As another “behind the scenes” person at CrashPadSeries.com (your friendly neighborhood web manager), I realize piracy hurts me. But it completely offends me on behalf of our performers, because I very much feel it’s an issue of consent. The implication I feel when watching porn is thus: These performers agreed to share their sexuality with an audience in exchange for a portion of what that audience paid for the privilege. If I watch that same scene without paying for it, I’ve breached that understanding, and therefore I’ve blatantly watched them against their consent.

For anyone that wasn’t an utter troll of a human, doing the same to another kind of sex worker would be immediately recognized as horrific. Arranging sex with a prostitute and then either going outside the discussed boundaries or not paying is rape – and while I strongly hesitate to compare piracy to that level of crime, I do think pirating porn is in the same sphere of infringing on consent.

I’m an artist. If you steal my work and put it on a t-shirt, that sucks. But were I a porn performer and you stole a scene I was in, I would feel as Jiz does. I’d feel like much, much more had been taken.

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Miss Lagsalot

Well said, Jiz! Personally I find the subject of piracy very conflicting, particularly when it comes to responsible, ethical, and especially queer porn, because, while I don’t want anyone to pirate porn and drain profits from people who are making their livings on it, I realize that most people these days will see pornography for the first time on a free site, and I WANT them to see responsible, ethical content with realistic, diverse, beautiful bodies FIRST! Video where the performers respect each other and themselves! I guess the ideal model would be if companies like Shine’s were much bigger and more able to put their content out there loudly so that people would find it easily–AND pay for it… Any thoughts on this?

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Will

Brilliant post! I have had arguments with many friends over piracy issues and while it is a clear-cut form of theft, the ease and passivity with which it can be done lulls the internet community into ignoring and participating in it without a second though. I am going to share this post with my friends and my readers as a perfect example of the real-world effect of digital media theft. Keep the posts coming!

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Erich von Gotha

Seeing you in Kink.com movies I thought: by god she’s beautiful! And I bet an intelligent highly literate person. Discovered your site; correct guess! I do comics in France and know there are more sites giving away my 10 albums, 17 years of hard work, than there are selling them. I stopped a man on ebay selling all my albums on a cd for $3.

I recently have been getting emails from people wanting everything on the web to be free. When I complained I got this nice email from them saying ‘Well, you don’t have to be a strip cartoonist’. I wanted to riposte: what do you make your living as? And do you do it for free?

The pros and the cons of the web, eh Jiz?

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Kahtze

Jiz I would love to throw money in your general direction and support every actor and employee who ever worked on the Crashpadseries with as much money as I can spare, that would be great.

But the thing is, it’s really difficult to get a membership subscription to the Crashpadseries website from Europe. I now have 6 to 8 hours research and calling banks and writing mails to every instance behind my back, everything just to find my way around the payment problem on the website.
The Pink and White forum has several entries on the problems of other European customers who have the same trouble, some complaints are about two years old but nothing seems to change (here’s a recent one: http://crashpadseries.com/forums/topic.php?id=150) .
So here’s a honest customer who tries really hard to pay the porn, but can’t.

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Jiz Lee

Hi Kahtze,

I’m sorry to hear that.
Maybe you can just volunteer for the site? I know they’re working on a transcription project for the Behind the Scenes interview videos. If you don’t mind transcribing a few videos, that’ll grant you access to the website and participate in helping them work on a cool project. Maybe it’ll even take less time than 6-8 hours. 🙂

alliance@crashpadseries.com is the contact email for that.

I know it’s not the same as paying for a membership but I hope this helps.
You’re a saint in my book for leaving a comment about this and wanting to support me and my work.
Thank you!
Jiz

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