Adult Anti-Piracy Movement Gains Steam

Feb 17, 2011 10:45 AM PST
LOS ANGELES – Amidst the speed networking, award show buzz and deal-making that took place at the XBIZ LA, a group of adult entertainment studios gathered to discuss digital content piracy.

For the second time in five months, adult studio Pink Visual coordinated the Content Protection Retreat, an event that provides attendees with intensive educational workshops covering a broad selection of piracy-related topics, including commonly-held misconceptions about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the copyright registration process, site-operator litigation, end-user litigation and the subtle legal and technical differences between the various content distribution platforms and mediums favored by pirates.

“I was completely blown away,” said Shap, owner of Twistys.com.

“I’ve never come away from an industry event having learned as much as I did from the content retreat. As a company we’ve spent [and continue to spend] millions producing content. I was embarrassed how little I knew, how little I spend and how little I do to protect that content. I had no idea of the options and tools that are available to content owners to protect their content and monetize it more effectively. I can’t emphasize how valuable the content retreat was for us. If all content producers attended the content retreat just once we’d all benefit from this. Thank you, Allison and crew.”

CPR2 also gave attendees the opportunity to learn about the FSC's Anti-Piracy Action Program initiative, including an in-depth demo of the digital fingerprint filtering technology employed by APAP to detect and prevent infringement at the moment of content upload. The software, which is already widely in use among mainstream site operators and content producers is normally very expensive, but the FSC negotiated a deep discount for adult studios who sign up through APAP, and is offering the fingerprinting and monetization filtering free of charge. The FSC also announced that the take-down and watermarking service Porn Guardian has been included into the APAP program to focus on cyberlockers and BitTorrent sites.

Content removal services were also well-represented at CPR2, as attendees were afforded the chance to discuss the services offered by the technology-based take-down service Degban, the digital rights management and watermarking service vendor BuyDRM, manual site review and take-down service provider Take Down Piracy, European end-user monitoring and litigation firm Media-Protector, and PornGuardian.

“All of these services have evolved beyond what might come to mind when someone says ‘digital fingerprinting’ or ‘DRM’ or ‘take-down service,’” said Allison Vivas, president of Pink Visual.

“Meeting directly with these companies and litigators really helps studios to craft a comprehensive anti-piracy strategy, because in order to know what’s right for your particular company, you have to reach an understanding of what your options are, and how those options can be combined to better protect your and more effectively enforce your copyrights.” As litigating against content pirates represents one of the primary means for rights-holders to enforce their intellectual property rights, both the first CPR and CPR2 included presentations by legal experts and attorneys with extensive knowledge of intellectual property law and experience in handling copyright lawsuits.

Participating at CPR2 were attorneys from Jenner & Block LLP, a firm with years of experience representing mainstream entertainment rights-holders; One, LLP, an intellectual property ‘boutique’ firm based in Los Angeles that has handled cases for both rights-holders and defendants accused of violating copyrights; attorney Gill Sperlein of the Law Offices of D. Gill Sperlein, who also runs the FSC APAP program and has represented Titan Media and other adult studios in copyright litigation; and UCLA law professor Douglas Lichtman, who also serves as an anti-piracy strategist for a number of Fortune 100 companies.

Vivas said that more important than the quality of information that has been made available to CPR participants is the fact that studios who have taken part in the events are “actually following through on the action plan they’ve made as a result of attending.”

“It’s all well and good to go to a seminar and learn, but if you don’t put that knowledge to work for you, then the education won’t really help you that much,” Vivas said.

“Fortunately, we’ve seen that the CPR is producing results, both in the form of participating studios taking action, and in the word reaching site operators that the time has come to clean up their act, and to be more proactive in doing their part to reduce piracy.

"At the same time, we’re seeing a lot of action being taken by studios and companies that have not participated in the CPR directly, but who share in the goal of mitigating the impact of content piracy.”

Vivas said that proof that the industry’s effort can be found in some key metrics that are available publicly. Specifically, Vivas cited the increase in site-operator lawsuits, five additional tube sites committing to finger print filtering, and take-down service providers indicating greater than a 100 percnet increase in the number of DMCA notices sent, all within the past five months.

The FSC APAP program reports that it now has more than 40,000 video fingerprints in its database, and has found 43,000 content matches to date on tube sites, representing 1.5 billion views of the content.

Vivas said that while she’s encouraged by these signs of progress, the adult industry has “a long, long way to go where fighting piracy is concerned.”

“As an industry, we’re way behind the curve in terms of our anti-piracy efforts compared to the mainstream entertainment sector,” Vivas said. “The good news is that we’ve built a lot of momentum on the issue, and if we can maintain that momentum, and keep the pressure on the pirates, I believe we can eventually push piracy back down to a level where it is an annoyance and a nuisance, but no longer an existential threat for our industry.”

The Content Protection Retreat is an adult industry movement designed to unite producers of adult content in a collaborative anti-piracy effort.

For more information about the Content Protection Retreat, it’s vendors or attendees click here.

For information about Pink Visual visit PinkVisual.com or email Kim@PinkVisual.com.

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