Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Vicky Vette vs RapidShare

Vicky Vette is an adult star who runs her own website. Yesterday she posted the following on her blog, and I am re-posting here for those of you who may be offended by adult content. I think it is an important, though difficult issue.

Many of the points I would make are also made below, but I will add that while this addresses artist rights, be they adult stars, musicians, or even the gaming industry, I think it is also an equality issue. Women and their sexuality have always been under the thumb of men, and that has changed very little. The skin trade in general is run by men, and a handful of women have tried to buck this system by going out on their own. The internet had made this easy, and difficult, in various ways.

The big problem is that women in any sex industry are looked down upon more than their male counterparts by the general public. There are too many reasons to go in depth here, but traditionally women must work for men, despite being the sole owners of the product they sell. If a woman works for Hustler, she gets paid a fraction of what her product earns. Strippers must pay the club they work at, often paying the club, the DJ, and the bouncers for the privilege of working there. Prostitutes pay their pimps, ostensibly for protection from clients, though that protection is really from the pimp himself. If a woman is producing something of interest to you, why should a man reap the rewards?

As for the piracy... As a tech, I think this is going to be a really difficult issue. There is going to be file-sharing as long as there is an internet. There are too many ways to get around DRM and other copyright protection. Legal action only opens the playing field. Once Napster was broken up a flood of others came, BitTorrent taking the brunt of the next wave of attacks. RapidShare will likely be next, but where then? Blogger or Tumblr? These are in many ways file-sharing sites. I could post a video here if I want, and you could download it. That is file-sharing as well. It is a difficult question because once you put something on the web, it is on the web. I can't put a newspaper on your porch and then expect you to pay for it, but if you pay for the newspaper you are also not expected to copy it and share with your friends. Legality is going to have to be a side issue, I believe. Sites that host file shares cannot be expected to take responsibility; they know what they are doing. Legal issues are expensive and time consuming, and many artists, particularly independent artists, are not always fiscally equipped to start the process. The responsibility lies with users. If you are a fan of an artist, especially an independent artist, give them some support.

Okey, this is getting really long, so here in gold is Vicky's original post.

I am taking out my baton and gonna start using it. This blog is lengthy but bear with me… blondes putting sentences together allegedly are a rarity.

I am not often upset. I like to enjoy life, make a few bucks doing what I do, and share it with people. I run my own site. The way I stay in business is pretty simple. I film myself in various states of undress having sex and sell website memberships to people that want to see my movies and me live. Luckily, things have been going great and I have never had so many folks willing to spend about $25 a month to get all my stuff and me providing live entertainment. I think $25 a month is pretty reasonable – less than a Family Fitness gym membership, about the cost of two tickets to a bad Hollywood movie, or the cost of some big macs for a family of four at McDonalds (with fries and diet cokes all around).

Pretty simple business plan, film sex and sell it, a plan that is being threatened by file sharing – the practice of uploading movies for downloading by others free. Now perhaps I should be flattered that stuff I sell is being ’shared’ but I have recently started a full frontal campaign against one of these file sharing mongers – Rapidshare. For those of you not familiar with Rapidshare you can download whatever you want for free – supposedly from users just like you who have uploaded their movies to share. Why am I upset with Rapidshare and others like them? Rapidshare are thieves. They make money by selling memberships, advertising and other scams. Yes… when something is up on their server you can in theory download it for free, but they do cute things like ‘for $9.95 you can get this file quicker and easier’. There are also all kinds of links to Adultfriendfinder where you can supposedly date ME if you have a membership. Do I get a piece of the action if they sell memberships, advertising or otherwise when a user is so inclined to spend a few bucks? Not a penny. Do they seem to care if someone puts up my movies for sharing by millions of people free? Apparently not. Rapidshare is doing to movies what Napster did to music… destroying the industries it is cheating.

You would think that it would be easy to get Rapidshare NOT to put up my adult videos and share them with the world if I asked them right? NOT so. One of my more popular website flicks is Lavatory Occupied – a series of videos shot in zany lavatories all over the world (including on a 747). Not exactly high art but I own them and Rapidshare cannot legally host or give it away. I wrote to them after I found Lavatory Occupied and other links and they immediately took down/disabled the links. Problem solved right? Errr no. A couple days later more links reappeared. So I wrote again and threatened them. Problem solved right? Errr, no. The links were taken down but a couple of days later more videos were put up in their place. I just got done writing them yet again today. A revolving door of stolen movies.

Rapidshare and other file sharing places are huge issues to the adult world. I don’t have the space in this blog to write why BUT in layman’s terms…. if you created the Mona Lisa, you would not want the entire world saying ‘Gee that is hot, I want to use it for free and not give you anything in return’. Even the Louvre charges admission to see the Mona Lisa.

I am writing this blog to do my small part in the way of a public service announcement. If you are using the services of Rapidshare or others like it, remember that the performers are getting ZERO. If you became a member at Rapidshare so that you could get a quick download, remember that no one is making a dime but the scumbags running these services. If you sign up to a dating site because you are surfing rapidshare, were turned on by the porn you see, and feel like hooking up on one of the dating sites advertised remember most of the profiles you are salivating over were simply made up by a bunch of guys thinking of ways to get you to spend your money. No, the big breasted blonde named ‘Inga’ does not live down the street from you.

You would think a massive country like the good old United States of America would do something legally to protect ALL copyright owners. After all Rapishare and companies like them steal not only porn but also from major hollywood movies etc. Now I would love to think that Eric Holder from the Department of Justice was thinking about porn when he made an announcement on February 10, 2010 that a ‘task force’ was being set up to confront intellectual property crimes but I kind of doubt it. GET THAT LINK HERE. I also think it is an empty promise. I am however happy to see that the police on February 12 in Poland of all places arrested 3 people running a File Sharing Forum for Rapidshare Uploads. GET THAT LINK HERE . The masterminds behind this Forum with 30,000… yes 30,000 users? Aged 21, 16 and 15 with 6 computers between them. The people who responded to this ‘news’ (which did not exactly make CNN) made comments showing the mindset of our society…

“It wont be long until our Generation of File Sharers rise to power and become politicians , Police, Lawyers and judges themselves and will make sure file sharers are not treated like real criminals”

“Jesus… just go after those who commit REAL crimes like killing and raping.”

You do the math on 30,000 users sharing stuff illegally and that is the tip of the iceberg. Unless people start realizing that the culture of ‘why pay for it because it is free’ is flat out wrong, not much is going to change. Have you wondered why there are fewer and fewer bonafide recording stars? The music industry has been crippled by people sharing new tunes.

I kind of expect some harsh responses to this blog. Vicky… you are a pornstar, don’t sweat the small stuff, you have to be rich! Vicky.. think of it as free advertising for your site! Vicky… I put stuff up myself (I own it and I want to share it!). Vicky who cares… it is only porn?! Vicky.. move to Poland if you are so concerned! In case you have not noticed, adult companies and performers are hurting. Your DVD’s? Less common. Like any movie, producing ‘art’… in this case people having sex on camera.. costs money. Costs include the ‘actors’, a camera dude or two, a photographer etc. When a company puts out ‘Vicky Vette Has Sex With a Me and All my Myspace Friends 83' and rather than BUY it, you run to Rapidshare and get it because someone uploaded it and Rapidshare allows it…. who wins? Rapidshare. The folks making the adult stuff you want to ‘enjoy’ are not making enough for their own mansions anymore and going out of business. If you steal Part 83 there is no reason to make Part 84 of ‘Vicky Vette Has Sex with Me and all my Myspace Friends’.

Should we care about the porn producers who make adult movies? Just a bunch of scumbags right? That is sure the perception, but think about the performers too – whose numbers are dwindling. Have you guys wondered where the next Jenna Jameson is? It has been a while since someone like that has appeared in adult for a reason. It is becoming increasingly difficult for adult stars to make money to do such a profession. Why bare all for the camera if the results are stolen? The Jenna Jameson’s of the world are staying in school, staying as strippers and doing anything BUT getting into adult. A good thing? Maybe, but if you are a fan of hot girls in adult… not. Companies don’t have the money to promote ’stars’ anymore and there is no point becoming an adult star if you still are living in a one bedroom apartment in Reseda wondering when you are going to become famous like Jenna. To be blunt, if you can make more money dancing at the ‘Foxy Lady’ than appearing in a skin flick… why bare all for a dwindling chance at fame?

Why bother with this blog? I am doing my small part. Educating my small slice of the world that you should think twice about using Rapidshare and companies like it. If something is FREE…. someone is getting ripped off. If you are uploading your movies to Rapidshare and places like it…… you are helping Rapidshare make money and the owners who run it.

I am going to keep sending my letters to Rapidshare and keep fighting the fight. Will it help? Probably not… I fear that the biggest culprit in all of this are likely adult movie companies themselves who are likely behind lots of these places. It seems our own community is giving away free stolen content to make money from advertisers/dating sites etc. It would not surprise me that some adult movie producers are deliberately putting up free stuff so that other adult movie producers go out of business – dog eat dog.

Do me a favor… if you see my stolen content such as Lavatory Occupied or Vickyathome material on the net anywhere other than at my website email me the links to I am going after Rapidshare and the torrent sites and you would be chipping in with my efforts.

Beam me up Scotty… the people down here give away my movies! Can you send me to Poland though to thank the police?


Neil Sarver said...

There's an interesting issue that neither of you address exactly (or maybe I missed it).

If one downloads the newest big Hollywood movie or some album or whatever and then likes it, they may - and many do - then go on to buy it to put in with their other cherished possessions. To be displayed proudly on their CD or DVD shelf.

But porn isn't going to have too much of that, I'd guess, which does produce an interesting challenge, although I can't say I think her quest, as understandable as it might be, is going to be much aside from a very minor nuisance to people looking to distribute or acquire unpaid copies.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I don't think either of us hit on that, but I have a feeling those users are in the minority - I can't back that feeling up.

I think with the porn industry it is different, as they are getting away from physical content. Why buy a magazine or DVD when you have broadband? Then why pay a subscription when you can find it elsewhere for free?

Right now the only site that has a serious policy towards copyrights, as far as I know, is YouTube, but they are the most visible.

Agreed about fighting RapidShare. They are not going to accept responsibility until the big boys start looking for their stuff there. I bet if users started reporting to Disney that their stuff was on RapidShare the heat would come down in a hurry. Of course, that would just shut RapidShare down and another site would pop up... It is a tricky business.

Neil Sarver said...

Other sharing sites already exist and I don't think there's an answer in fighting the flow. I'm certainly not sure that the way things are - and are going - is for the best, but I think as long as creators - whether independents and individuals or big corporations - are fighting this from the perspective that they this isn't The Way Things Are Now then they are absolutely destined to lose.

The fact is, I don't think downloaders of movies are significantly different from people who rent or check out from the library in how they look at it. And, sure, how many of us run out and buy something we just rented very often.

Absolutely, from a legal perspective, the rental store or library made an initial legal purchase that's arguably missing from the pirate equation, but I don't think it significantly changes their view.

I'm not a supporter of illegal downloading. My participation, mind you, in not non-existent, but is limited to things that are out of print or otherwise prohibitive to acquire legally, and not merely something I can't be bothered to pay for.

But then I think everyone, from independents to big corporations, make a huge mistake in thinking that illegal downloads each represent a potential purchase. Most people I've known who do it to a significant extent are either tech dorks who never buy any DVDs or music and who are vaguely obsessed with downloading or people who obsessed with music or movies in general and get them by every means possible.

I agree that the one's who buy it afterward are in the minority, but I don't believe that any but the tiniest percentage of that majority was at all likely to make the purchase to begin with. I think that's the part that's too often lost in all of the discussion.

But, in the end, I think it has passed the point of no return. Fighting it, regardless of legal and moral justifications, has become like Prohibition. The fight to stop it isn't winnable, so everyone involved would be smarter to put their resources into finding ways to ensure there are profits to be found through various other means.

And, yes, I know, porn in general makes that a much more difficult prospect for a variety of reasons. People who finish with porn are finished, as it were, and aren't likely to purchase it afterward or to buy ancillary products, t-shirts or action figures, etc.

I think finding ways to end-around that will indeed be a challenge ahead. But it's an essential challenge.

Imagining that somehow we'll get back to something similar to the world we were in before where this was reasonably enforceable and limited is frankly just fucking ridiculous. Much like imagining that you can stop the flow of inebriating substances to a public that demands them.

Darius Whiteplume said...

Yeah, once someone turns the screws on a sharing site, there will just be another one. I think it is funny that BitTorrent had to go "legitimate" and PirateBay(?) is still doing what it always did. BitTorrent took the heat because of their relationship to the software. If RapidShare gets closed down, the owners will register another domain name, change their IP address, and keep the monthly fees they already grabbed.

Technology steers towards piracy anyway. Sure, most people could not copy an LP into another LP, so we made cassette tapes.

Like I was saying, users have to want to support artists by buying their media. There is no real way to police things, and as the Joe Rogan character on News Radio years ago, "getting something off the internet is like trying to get pee out of a pool." Anything you put out there can/will be saved by someone, somehow; and someone else will always want it.

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