Blog Ipsa Loquitur

Published on under The Digital Age

By way of Eve Ahearn, I just learned that the prestigious Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University produces a podcast about the internet. And there’s an episode about a particlarly titillating subject of intellectual property laws: pornography.

From the show notes:

While the web has created incredible new economic opportunities for adult entertainers […] few other industries on the web face the glut of competition from services that offer similar content for free or in violation of copyright. Simply put, there’s so much free porn on the net that honest pornographers can’t keep up.

Surprisingly though, the porn industry doesn’t seem that interested in pursuing copyright violators. Intellectual property scholar Kate Darling studied how the industry was responding to piracy, and it turned out that – by and large – adult entertainment creators ran the numbers and found that it simply cost more from them to fight copyright violators than it was worth.

I will say that while the pornography industry may have adopted this approach on a broader scale, various independent artists have employed the “hey, you’ll download it anyway, so it might as well be from me” legal strategy. For example, MC Frontalot, who for a good many years simply gave away his music for free.