Porn Stars Get Serious About Earnings

December 16, 2014
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It only takes a spark. In this case it was the actor Samuel L Jackson who set off a bunch of sensitive porn stars by naming porn sharing site RedTube as one of the best pop culture achievements of the past 50 years during a press conference prior to the release of the last Captain America movie. Jackson’s comments, which were pretty flippant and insensitive, led the adult star Catalina Cruz to suggest on Twitter that that “these sites are stealing whole members’ areas and have the potential to kill an industry”. She may be right, but I do have to admit I’m sort of flabbergasted at her sudden entrée into a new world of porn politics after I asked both her and the lovely Jasmine Tame about this very subject less than a year ago and received nothing but silence.

Having seen much of their trade denied in L.A. County with the current municipal ban on the shooting of bareback porn, the business is now growing in all 50 states and expanding in Europe. Things have changed. Adult performers wouldn’t have given much thought to politics had they not seen their paychecks going down. Outsourcing porn has seen performers’ paychecks drop by 2/3rds in some cases, but the reality is that a jaded public can now get all their porn jollies for free.

The time, it seems, is ripe for performers to stand up and protect themselves. The Pay For Your Porn campaign, backed by publishers Adult Empire, editorializes. “Purchasing content ensures it’s better produced, delivered in higher quality formats and more secure,” one of the thousands of Tweet-type aphorisms says on the campaign website. “Porn piracy hurts everyone, from the creators behind the scenes to the porn stars fans love to watch… Theft only helps take away the ability of the tens of thousands of people in the adult industry.”

http://youtu.be/kPCXzFVKi_g

Some of the veterans in the business are a tad dubious, however. One grand dáme of a MILF, Karen Summer, is definitely one of the industry’s senior alumni and she is both wise and dubious about who benefits and how. “Everything is free on the Internet and anybody with a laptop is now a star,” she told me. “It floods the market and the fans are not getting the quality they deserve.” And although she’s very kind of leery about the cynicism of this new breed of ’star’ over their contempt for the fans, she strongly believes adult actors must show solidarity and still thinks that they must be most aware that it’s not the fans “who want to control us and make money off us.”

Atypical of Summer’s point is the way “tube”-style sites mimic YouTube‘s model of user uploads and free streaming as they build their own sustainable business model. Porn.com’s David Kay told the Guardian he is “100% behind the campaign.” He argues that his site’s pay-per-view scheme “keeps a lot of content owners in business,” by offering a cut of the ad revenue to studios which upload their own videos and clips to the site’s system.

Just as the movie and music industries were forced to adapt in the face of piracy, becoming more user-friendly to win back customers who were used to getting what they wanted for free, Kay says the porn industry needs to change as well. Unfortunately paying the performers properly is never mentioned.

Yet the various adult industry groups who’ve taken RedTube and its like to court have, in spite of hiring the best and brightest lawyers, failed repeatedly. Indeed the California State Supreme Court’s finding on February 1, 2011, was that they really didn’t want to touch it, according to the Tech Dirt blog. I’ll leave you with an excerpt of Chef Justice Ronald M. George’s opinion.

“In the 21st century, businesses of all kinds are having to adapt to a constantly changing commercial landscape. The business that the parties describe as the “adult entertainment” industry is no exception. Websites that originally made their money by offering such material on a subscription or pay-per-view basis are being replaced by “tube” websites which offer their content for free and make their money through advertising.”

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  1. Great article! However, the Adult Empire link does not go to the correct company/website. It should be http://www.adultempire.com and/or http://www.adultdvdempire.com.

  2. Want to be a porn star

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