This is going to be another of those posts where I give my opinion on some things. Let me be very clear : These are (as always) simply my thoughts; they’re not meant to try and change anyone’s mind, nor to chastise, call out, or begrudge anyone else’s. We’re all entitled to death, taxes, and the opportunity to piss people off on the internet, right?
“Pay for your porn”, or, if you’re a Twitter-er-er, #payforyourporn, is a pretty common saying lately among producers, performers, and fans. If you’re not up-to-date on the concept, it’s where folks who make money off adult material (and those who care about them) try to convince the general public not to watch stuff they haven’t paid for. Internet piracy, doncha know.
None of us likes internet piracy – we’re not supposed to, as producers, like it when folks take our stuff without paying. Just like if someone steals peppermint candies from the guy who owns the corner market, that guy’s not thrilled. You can’t blame him. He did, after all, pay for the space, manpower, and goods needed to provide people the opportunity the convenience of buying from him the things they want/need. As a business owner, he’d be a little dumb to encourage shoplifting. He’s also not just dealing in peppermints; he’s providing a valuable service to his community, thereby (hopefully) fostering a sense of goodwill amongst his customers via good customer service, selection, and value.
I think it’s very admirable that folks involved in the adult industry have taken an active interest in unauthorized sharing of their products. I also think that the #payforyourporn ‘movement’ is an enormous waste of both physical and psychic energy on the part of every single person who takes the time to try and convince the general public that they should not take advantage of something so easily and obviously-acceptably accessible (free stuff).
No, I’m not saying it’s okay to steal/distribute other people’s stuff. Naturally, I’m as irritated as the next person when I see that someone’s come into my store, stolen a bunch of peppermints, and has set up on the next corner giving them away for free to passersby. (We’ll talk more some other time about all the ways that the guy who stole the peppermints can actually make lots of money giving them away for ‘free’…but that’s another conversation.) What I AM saying is this: if we producers, performers, and friends spent half as much time protecting our content as we do railing against those who stumble across it on a million-billion different websites every day, we’d probably all be in a much better mood. Proactivity, rather than preaching.
Example : One Monday morning, the guy who owns the corner market suddenly decides that, since a few people have been snitching his peppermints, he’s going to hold all his customers (and potential customers) personally responsible for those thefts. He’s going to start giving stink eye to everyone who makes his front doorbell ring; he’s going to start charging more for other items to make up for the loss of the peppermint income; and, finally, he’s going to post a big giant sign on the front of his shop that reads, “I know you’re all a bunch of dirty, no good thieves, and I’m watching you.”
Well, maybe. But I’d walk right past that store to the one with the sign that says “Welcome”, wouldn’t you?
It’s not the consumer’s problem that folks are stealing our stuff, and it’s not the consumer’s job to police it, either. Walmart doesn’t ask you to take part in their Loss Prevention, do they? No. They say, “Come on in and fill up your basket with some made-in-china-cheap-crap, and come back soon!”, which is exactly what their shoppers want to hear. They do not, ever, want to be made to feel guilty for the fact that they accepted a free peppermint from the guy on the corner on the way to Walmart that day – it’s not their fault that someone’s giving away free candy.
And they shouldn’t be chastised for accepting it.
Another example: Not long ago, after getting my usual BuzzFeedVideo Try Guys YouTube.com fix, I was driving aimlessly around the site when I came upon a video that was titled, “50 First Dates Full Movie”. Well, I love 50 First Dates, and hadn’t seen it in years. It was right there, on YouTube for free, so I watched it. It was GREAT. And guess what? I didn’t feel even remotely guilty for having watched. I didn’t steal the movie, didn’t post it online, and didn’t do some nefarious deep web search for ‘pirate adam sandler drew barrymore torrent download’…it was on youtube, and I watched it. I did not send the creators of 50 First Dates a check for 3.99, nor did I email YouTube to tell them that the movie was there.
So….did I steal this movie? Did I participate in internet piracy? Should the makers of the movie come to my house and shake me down for a few bucks, just to keep things on the up and up?
Whatever. It’s YouTube. They know it’s there – if anyone knows, the big production companies do, exactly where their content is being shared. And more importantly, they KNOW that some folks steal; they also know that lots of folks, when confronted with an easy, free, in-your-face option, will likely sit back with a cold beer and watch Joe Dirt on Putlocker rather than paying to download it from Amazon or something. And it’s their responsibility to make sure that there are as few places for the (relatively innocent) general public to come in contact with this pirated material as possible.
Now let’s talk about how this applies directly to spanking videos – we’ll use mine as an example. Unlike ‘regular’ porn, which is shared on thousands upon thousands of websites from Algeria to Zimbabwe every second of every day, there are relatively few spanking content sharers. They are still there, and they are busy boys and girls, but there aren’t millions of them, and they’re usually pretty easy to find, as we spankos congregate in many fewer places than the typical porn enthusiast.
The concept that my business could be irrevocably damaged by internet piracy of my video content is somewhat ridiculous. If occasional (or even regular, repeated) theft caused businesses to fail, as a singular cause, no company would be able to sustain business for any amount of time whatsoever. Remember the peppermints? EVERY business owner deals with theft, and every one should have ways of keeping it to a minimum. If Walmart didn’t hire security guards, they’d sort of deserve it, wouldn’t they? (Go ahead, admit it. We expect people to protect their own property – we’d look askance at a neighbor who complained about being burglarized if they left their front door wide open, wouldn’t we?) Likewise, if I didn’t police and protect my own content, then I’d expect that folks wouldn’t feel too sorry for me if it got jacked.
Even the big porno companies are obviously still doing a booming business in spite of enormously high piracy figures. Why? Because there are over 8 billion people on the planet, most of them have internet connections, and most of them like porn. Even when theft is considered, that’s still one helluva healthy market, my friends.
Yes, piracy is an issue with which we producers must deal. But it’s not your problem, it’s not yours to police, and it’s certainly not your fault. Do me a favor:
Let me #policemyporn – you just enjoy it.