Getting Off Scot-Free
The argument over online porn, piracy and premiums.
March 26, 2014
I think it’s safe to say that 99 percent of people reading this article have watched free porn online. Given the access we have to streaming video aggregators and torrent networks, tracking down a scene featuring your favorite top/bottom/dom/sub/pisser/choker/flogger/massager/hand-jobber is easier than ever. Plus, amateur porn has become increasingly popular as average Joes upload their own videos to the Pornhubs and RedTubes of the World Wide Web. As server Jaison puts it, “The best porn is amateur porn: videos made by and starring real guys in real places, not the polished, scripted stuff featuring model types.”
When asked whether they pay for website subscriptions or DVDs, several people agreed with Internet personality Cookie Franco: “Absolutely not. Why should I when I can watch any premium video I want for free online?”
It’s a popular opinion in mainstream gay culture. However, those in the adult film industry see things differently. Dominic Ford of DominicFord.com and Michael Lucas of Lucas Entertainment both take piracy of their content very seriously. So much so that each company has invested in technology to seek and destroy illegally obtained content online.
“My other company, PornGuardian.com, helps track down illegal versions of content and gets them removed,” Ford says. “These pirates make their own money off stolen content because they often get paid when people download the links they publish to their copies of our movies. It’s ridiculous!”
According to Ford, distributing pirated material also hurts small gay-owned businesses and freelancers. “Most porn companies are very, very small operations,” he explains, emphasizing that his company has only two employees. “We aren’t some large corporation making millions of dollars. When you pirate porn, you are literally harming an entire ecosystem of people: the producer, editor, cameraman and the actors. Porn actors make very little money these days because studios can’t afford to pay them what they deserve.”
Michael Lucas acknowledges that combating piracy has been a priority for his company. But he also says that sales are on the rise. “Our high standard for quality production and ability to fight piracy also helps keep our numbers high. We remove all the pirated content from [any] online site very quickly. So, if you want Lucas Entertainment content, you have to go to LucasEntertainment.com or buy [it] in a store.”
Lucas, along with several other porn companies, also uses porn aggregators as a marketing tool, posting film previews to woo potential customers. “People should see what they are getting,” he says. “[The previews] are short enough so that the customer doesn’t have enough time to get off but still gets excited for the scene.”
But my friend Caleb isn’t the only one who thinks that’s a misguided strategy: “I can’t last long enough to make it through anything longer than those free 30-second snippets anyway.”