Five reasons you should pay for your porn

Five reasons you should pay for your porn

Summary: Why should you pay for your porn instead of downloading it illegally? Because the consequences of doing so could be costly.

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TOPICS: Legal
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Was that you who was named as a defendant by Raw Films for downloading Bareback Street Gang using Bittorrent?

Chances are, if you download enough free porn, you'll eventually become one of the 220,000 (and counting) defendants in piracy lawsuits filed by porn publishers. These plaintiffs have had mixed success enlisting the courts to compel ISPs to disclose names of customers based on their IP addresses.

If you live in the Eastern District of New York and Magistrate Judge Gary Brown catches the case, you're in good shape: he recently slapped down an attempt to sue multiple anonymous porn pirates.

You're out of luck, though, if you live in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where U.S. District Court Judge Mary A. McLaughlin ruled that "A Doe defendant who has allegedly used the Internet to unlawfully download and disseminate copyrighted material does not have a significant expectation of privacy." Same story if you try it in London.

In the end, I think a combination of the legal system, public opinion and corporate self preservation will shut down these lawsuits. We saw the same pattern with pirated music: by 2008 the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) formally announced an end to its pursuit of individual users.

In the meantime, though, I love the excuses defendants in these porn cases come up with:

  • It wasn't me. Someone else must have been using my wireless network.
  • I wasn't home at the time.
  • I'm too old to watch porn.

These are the cross examinations lawyers wait their whole careers for.

For now, those excuses have a pretty good chance of working, so as your legal advisor my suggestion if you get named as a defendant in one of these lawsuits is that you use a hard-to-disprove excuse (or three), and stick to it no matter how lame it is, because some judge may believe you ... or at least think it's not going to be possible to disprove you.

That being said, there are five good reasons you should pay for your porn instead of downloading it illegally:

1. To avoid embarrassment

You may not have to pay any money, but if you're publicly named as a defendant in a lawsuit people will find out: your spouse, your employer, your neighbors, your kids. That you ultimately prevail on the legal issues can only do so much to repair perceptions. It's bad enough to have everyone thinking you download porn, but if you're one of the Bareback Street Gang defendants and people look the film up on IMDB they're going to learn that every cast member is male.

2. There's plenty of free porn available online

It may not be the best porn, but you can visit a gazillion different free porn tube sites if you don't want to pay for porn and don't want to be doing anything illegal. As long as you don't mind the popup windows and low resolution, you're all set. If you want higher resolution and fewer sales pitches, just pay for it.

3. Porn is cheap

As an alternative to illegally downloading Bareback Street Gang, bear in mind that Bi Now, Gay Later #4 is only $16.99 from Adult DVD Empire. Even if you work at McDonald's you can probably earn more than $16.99 in the time it takes to deal with managing Bittorrent downloads with Vuze.

4. Porn stars need to make a living

Being a porn star is a tough job. Yes, it's true that even the most obscure porn actors get to be called stars, but beyond that it's an exhausting way to pay the rent. Given how much effort these actors put into entertaining you, the least you can do is help support them.

5. If nobody pays for porn, it won't get made

This is the endgame if everybody copies porn instead of buying it: Nobody will produce it. Rather, the only available porn will be from amateurs who do it because they want to. So unless you want all porn to have the production values of Youtube guitar tutorials, and for all the actors to look like the people in those guitar tutorials, you should just pay for it.

About the author: Steven A. Shaw is a former litigator and is the Executive Director of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters.

Topic: Legal

Steven Shaw

About Steven Shaw

Steven Shaw used to be a litigation attorney at Cravath, Swaine &gMoore, a New York law firm, and is now the online community managergfor eGullet.org and the Director of New Media Studies at thegInternational Culinary Center.

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35 comments
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  • Wait...

    Didn't the supreme court already rule that an IP doesn't equal a person?

    So effectively, it's a stunt to get people to admit guilt because they're embarrassed and don't want their names to go public?

    I don't agree with illegally pirating movies, XXX rated or otherwise, but honestly. How many people are just going to admit it to stay out of the public eye, guilty or not?
    Arkonite
    • Slam dunk countersuit

      The issue I see is that if the plaintiff fails at his case, the defendant can countersue for defamation if character. The judgment could be enormous.
      goingbust
      • Years ago, my ISP reported me to a media company...

        ...for allegedly downloading a pirated movie. Only problem was that the IP address listed in the letter was physically 1500 miles away. The ISP's customer database was clustered, and had my account connected to another customer's IP address where the movie had been downloaded. Expecting process servers from the MPAA to show up at my door at any moment, I wrote the ISP a letter stating that if any litigation were to result from this obvious error, my next step would be to sue them. Fortunately for them, nothing happened.
        JohnMcGrew
    • Yes but ...

      A credit card does not equal a person. But the person the police will look at first when a credit card is used in a crime, is the person it was issued to. The same legal thinking applies to an IP address.
      mheartwood
      • However,

        They will look into you. They won't immediately arrest you, and haul you in front of a judge.
        Arkonite
  • It wasn't me. Someone else must have been using my wireless network.

    I don't know why you think this would be a weak excuse. It would be an easy excuse. Set your wireless network to have no password. Heck, put a laptop in your car connecting to it so you have evidence of a mooch. Have an expert inspect your network. Now you have evidence that absolutely anyone could have done it, in fact, someone outside of your house was using it when the expert inspected it.. You have a lot more evidence that you did not do it (your testimony plus a plausable explanation) than the plaintiff has. He has no eyewitness beyond the IP address that absolutely anyone could have been using.

    Anyway, the best way to avoid these suits is to just dodge service. They aren't going to invest a lot in serving you when they are trying to serve thousands of people, they will take the easiest 50% or so.
    goingbust
    • Actually I think it was tried an failed

      I think I remember reading about someone where they said that about either a regular movie or music and they were still found responsible because they didn't protect their system. I may be wrong, anyone else remember that news article.
      remmeler
    • Not that easy

      "[i]Have an expert inspect your network.[/i]"

      Yup. A qualified expert will charge about $150-250 per hour, including time to prepare an expert report and for a deposition and to review all the documents and expert report from the other side. They'll require a deposit of around $5k before they'll do [b]anything[/b]. And of course, you'll have to pay a lawyer $250+ per hour on a non-contingent basis to handle the case.

      Plus, as one of the cable or dish networks did awhile back, their suit papers make it clear that they [b]can[/b] press criminal charges for theft of services, criminal copyright infringement, or other things if a civil suit defendant gives them too much crap. So a defense lawyer who would normally shotgun a lot of bs defenses tells his client, "Look, if you put up too much resistance, they [b]can[/b] press the criminal charges they mention."

      "[i]Anyway, the best way to avoid these suits is to just dodge service. [/i]"

      It's not that easy. Most law suits use private process servers. Law firms that do suits in bulk make special arrangements for low flat rates--generally around $55 per service. Servers will show up late evenings, early mornings, weekends, etc. If the person is "dodging service" they can just send it by mail or get a court order to tape it to the door.
      Rick_R
  • OMG - every cast member is male!

    Hey Steven, why is it more embarrassing if people find out that every cast member is male?
    xajn
    • Why is it more embarising? Are you really that limited in your thinking

      "Hey Steven, why is it more embarrassing if people find out that every cast member is male? ~ @xajn"

      Clearly you are pro- gay/Lesbian/Bisexual and therefore feel the need to defend any comment that could be misconstrued as being not pro-Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual. Believe it or not single straight men often prefer to not be labeled as anything but Straight and that includes the straight men who are not homophobic so don't even try to drop that line on your follow-up. As a married man I couldn't care less but before I was married I did. I worked retail for years, an industry with a larger then average percentage of GLB persons. If you worked in men???s clothing it was even more so and if you are a straight male it really does hurt your dating chances if the available women in the area think you???re not straight because of where you work.

      What does that have to do with this story? Its fact that peoples wireless network are often hijacked/used by nefarious individuals including neighbors so the excuse that it wasn't me is not a stretch.

      That said, next time how about keeping the sexual preference comments to more appropriate websites which zdnet is not one of.
      BlueCollarCritic
      • Clinton was correct here.....

        Don't ask, don't tell! Current politics have made everybody whiny little "FAIRIES".
        partman1969
      • Why is it the article's own point 3 goes to a non-heterosexual video?

        Wait, who were you responding to, again?
        HypnoToad72
    • OMG...

      Because, even though the homosexual community might not like it, the majority of human beings are straight.
      czorrilla
  • If you want to download it

    free and illegally and not get caught, all you have to do is take you laptop to the parking lot of almost any hotel and use their wifi. Or go to a public library and download it to a jump drive.
    tboneJoey
    • Better yet ask Loverock Davidson where he goes, he knows just

      about everything on anything to do with the internet according to his friend Bee Olson
      Over and Out
  • Homophobia is a reason?

    Classy.
    rgcustomer
  • Why bother when theres so many free Flash streaming sites?

    Just go watch the flash versions... a mate told me theres tons of it out there.

    Forget the torrents and just surf of an evening.
    pjmckay
  • One overriding reason you shouldn't

    It's killing you in ways you don't even know, starting in your brain. Listen up young men.
    klumper
    • Such as?

      Seriously. Make a list. With citations.
      (Not holding my breath.)
      .DeusExMachina.
      • Don't need to make a list

        to learn about consequences. Action -|- reaction. This of course presupposes you still have your brain intact. P0rnography pollutes it, with lasting ramifications. Don't believe me if you wish, but those who don't heed such advice end up paying a price. It's doubly unforgivable when it comes to young folks in their prime. The wh0res and junkies enslaved by it are pathetic enough.

        Not that I have to state the obvious, but nothing beats the real thing. But then, with that comes responsibility and consequences. Some can't live up to that, and opt for fantasy and escapism. Like street junkies, only on a different drip. But the damage to the brain from pr0n is as real as the damage to the body from the needle can be. It just plays out in more subtle, psychological ways. But it will play out, sadly.

        Young men with their hormones raging are the last that want to hear or believe this. They prefer to see it as free candy, instead of the sweetened arsenic it is. But they need to, since our GOV + CORPS are nowhere to be found on the issue. As always.

        Now with a handle like yours, I doubt this will make any mark. But since I know you're holding your breath despite claiming otherwise, exhale sex machine. ;)

        [Yes I know, maybe the Gods will arrive to resolve this fleshy plot. Latin lovers meh]
        klumper