Porn companies are making history right now, but not the kind of history we would joke about — or necessarily be proud of. The total of individuals being sued by multiple porn companies has reached a record-breaking 30,000 “John Doe” defendants in the past six weeks. For what might be my top article this year, I tracked down and interviewed a lot of people; notably, famously, the EFF’s Cindy Cohn and porn director Axel Braun. I was surprised to see Braun openly challenge the Anonymous hackers Operation Payback in his email replies to me (it’s in the article!)
At ZDNet (CBSi) – Every Inch Counts: Porn Filesharing Lawsuits Crest 30K Defendants (zdnet.com).
You must read the article to get the chilling details. What I find most upsetting personally is the determination for porn studios to out, identify, name and make public the identities of alleged porn downloaders — so that porn may shame them into paying up, and fortify porn’s new monetization strategy. Yup: using the shame over their own product to get people to give them money. Dear porn: Batman XXX is rad, but find a better way to survive. Please.
America’s pornography business has been cast as an industry quick to co-opt new technologies to keep its profit margins larger than the average guy’s. However, when DVD sales plummeted by 50% in 2009 and torrent sites emerged as a factor in limp revenues, mainstream porn faced a new kind of shrinkage: porn needed a little blue pill, or a bailout. So, what new hot tech innovation is set to get porn back in the black?
(…) For instance, someone in the military who is accused of downloading gay porn, or those who could lose their jobs — such as police or schoolteachers — could be frightened into paying off porn studios simply because the mere accusation could cause so much trouble in their lives. Cohn explains, “The process of identifying Does in this instance increases pressure to settle against legitimate defenses and makes it more of a shakedown.”
When I mention that some of the copyright websites conveniently have “pay now” options encouraging alleged – or simply potential – downloaders to give money immediately and avoid all that nasty, time-consuming “due process” Cohn expresses another concern. “My worry is that over time we’ll see more of these scams, where copycats don’t do legal legwork and scam people into paying who just don’t know better.” (…read more, zdnet.com)
Image via Vivid Video’s Batman XXX page.