On Wednesday night, the School of Cinematic Arts in conjunction with Wicked Pictures and Takedown Piracy hosted a panel called “The Piracy of Sex: A Conversation with Jessica Drake and Nate Glass,” hosted by David Lerner, an adjunct faculty at SCA.
Jessica Drake is a sex educator and performer, writer and director for Wicked Pictures, a pornographic film studio headquartered in nearby Canoga Park. Nate Glass is the founder of Takedown Piracy, an anti-piracy service that works to prevent pirating of films on digital media, including pornographic films as well as mainstream media.
Nate Glass began the discussion with a brief presentation of some of the statistics associated with the illegal online pirating of pornography.
He noted that of the three main types of piracy, such as tube sites, file-hosting sites and torrenting sites, almost one third of all torrent files on the internet contain adult content. He added that some of these websites charge as much as six figures per month for advertisements.
The panelists began with a discussion of how the protection of pornography has differed from how other content producers, such as mainstream film and music studios, protect their copyrighted work.
While lawmakers are generally more receptive to creating legislation for mainstream media, people are hesitant about creating and enforcing the same provisions for producers of pornographic content because of the stigma associated with the industry, drake said.
“The stigma will never go away, ever,” she said. “It has defined me to some people to the point where they simply will not acknowledge my existence based on what I do for a living. But I think that says a lot more about them than it says about me.”
Nevertheless, the prevalence of online pirating of pornographic material shows the popularity of pornographic content, and the disconnect between how people use various forms of media.
“I’ve seen comments from people where they say, ‘I’ll pay for Netflix, but I won’t pay for porn,’ so I think maybe there’s people who will pay for mainstream content but not for porn,” Glass said.
He added that people often behave different over the Internet than in daily interactions.
“People don’t realize what they’re doing is wrong, or they think that they can be anonymous and hide by the Internet,” he said.
The two panelists also brought up the issue of confronting further recent regulations on the porn industry in Los Angeles.
drake noted the impact of Measure B, the Los Angeles County ballot initiative that required condoms to be used in pornographic films shot within the county.
“I’ve been asked lately if the industry is leaving Los Angeles, and all signs point to no,” drake said. “Nothing has really changed.”
She added, however, that different companies are responding to new laws in various ways.
“I think what is unfortunately happening with studios that are shooting non-condom is that they are really trying to fly under the radar, which is taking money away from film permitting,” she said. “The adult industry simply did too little too late, we didn’t really think that it was going to happen. I think we as an industry just did not join together, and we didn’t unify, and we really didn’t expect it to happen.”
David Watts, an attendee of the event, said that while he was interested in the digital rights aspect of pornography, he did not realize the scale of online piracy of that nature.
“I didn’t realize that there were a lot of porn Dropbox sites. I think there were a lot of file-sharing sites that Nate Glass talked about that I wasn’t aware of,” he said. “I wasn’t aware of a lot of the statistics that go along with piracy. I certainly knew that there were plenty, plenty, plenty of tube sites, but this event definitely added a lot to it.”