HOLLYWOODLAND—By now, many fans of adult entertainment must have heard about actor Samuel L. Jackson's name check of Redtube. But many in the industry didn't need to be reminded about the problem of online piracy. Takedown Piracy founder Nate Glass, for instance, has taken his battle to college campuses. And Adult DVD Empire's #PayForYourPorn campaign is hitting the social media circuit to raise awareness.
Mainstream actor Samuel L. Jackson's less-than-helpful comment came during a panel on the new Marvel movie release Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The panel also featured the movie's co-directors Anthony and Joe Russo, as well as stars Chris Evans (who played Steve Rogers aka Captain America, a character from the World War II era who found himself frozen in suspended animation for a few decades until revived a couple of years ago) and Scarlett Johannson (playing freelance secret agent The Black Widow). Jackson played S.H.I.E.L.D. head honcho Nick Fury.
Panel moderator Chris Hewitt, of web show Flix and the City, noted, "In the film, Steve Rogers keeps a checklist of all the great pop culture stuff that he’s missed out on in the past 50 years," then asked the panelists, "So, if you had to recommend anything for Steve, what would it be? And why?"
The panelists had their own answers, at least one of which was quite illuminating—Joe Russo recommended "Fifty Shades of Grey. I think he needs more mommy porn in his life. Not the whole trilogy, just the first one."—but Jackson's response consisted of a single word repeated twice, and perhaps inspired by Russo's comment: "Redtube ... Redtube."
That name may have gone over the heads of many listening to the discussion, but it was a sore point with the adult content producer community. Redtube is one of the top ten online infringers of adult content copyrights in the entire world, as recently noted by piracy expert Nate Glass of Takedown Piracy.
Among those who took issue with Jackson's remark was Coleen Singer of female-friendly site Sssh.com, who published an article last week titled "The Porn Education Of Captain America—Samuel L. Jackson Endorses Movie Piracy?"
After commenting on the other panelists' answers, with a positive shout-out to Joe Russo's porn-y reference, Singer dropped the hammer on Jackson.
"Samuel, Samuel, Samuel…… I have adored you for decades. Will Smith, The Rock and Russell Crow pale by comparison in the 'sexy' department (Sean Connery still has you beat though. Sorry!). You are the only really tall man I have ever seen that looks TOTALLY HOT in a Che Guevara/Les Mis beret. ... But, huh? A shoutout to RedTube? et tu, Brute?
"Now, I realize you are probably as pissed off about movie piracy on the interwebs as I am, but in your case, your mainstream features are nicely protected by office buildings filled with studio lawyers that get any movie you are in deleted from the tubes, torrents and fileshare sites quicker that poop goes through a goose," she continued. "But here in Pornland, it’s a little more difficult to deal with piracy. There are literally thousands of “free porn movie sites” out there that rely on this mysterious thing called 'user generated content' to maintain their loophole protection in the Digital Millennia [sic] Copyright Act (DMCA) and we overworked, underfunded and abused porn producers spend a whole lot of time and money we don’t have issuing takedown orders for our oh-so-sexy adult movies that get onto the tubes and torrents within minutes of legitimate release on our sites and VoD networks. ... But, a favor to ask you and all A-List actors in mainstream. Would you mind not dropping Tube site names in interviews and such? People listen to you, and dropping names simply sends out a tacit endorsement that watching stolen porn, or any other genre of film, for free, is somehow okay."
TMZ also picked up on the story, and actually talked to a couple of porn stars for their reactions to the situation, quoting top actress Tanya Tate as offering, "I would gladly send a catalog of adult movies I have directed to Mr. Jackson if he would be so kind as to recant the comment. I have a stack of porn for him to help him see the error of his ways."
Also referenced in the article was veteran actress Catalina Cruz, who according to the article is "demanding a boycott of Jackson's films." She expanded on her views for AVN:
"If you have an anti-piracy view for your own industry, like most if not all mainstream movie producers do, why would you destroy another industry [by] promot[ing] an illegal tube site?" she asked. "So, it's all right to steal from one but not the other? I was really disappointed when I saw the Samuel L. Jackson clip.
"Piracy is especially damaging to adult because you can take smaller clips and movies and just give them away for free," she continued. "A mainstream movie can take longer to steal. I believe you can give free clips away for promotion but it has gotten out of hand where users and sites are taking whole members areas. This is why I have chosen to do most if not all of my scenes live on cam and streaming only as well."
By coincidence, TMZ's story went online the day following a discussion held at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, which had invited Glass and Wicked Pictures contract star (and director) Jessica Drake to discuss the whole issue with one of that school's professors, Dr. David Lerner. Though AVN was unable to attend, fortunately, a major news organization was there to cover the event: Russia TV (RT) America.
"From a performer's standpoint, from somebody who had worked so hard on this movie—I put my heart and soul into it; I was so proud of it—to find it for free online so quickly made me feel terrible, and that was the first time I ever realized there was an issue," Drake told the audience, later adding, "They do VOD, video on demand; there's streaming. It's actually not very expensive, so for the amount that you'd spend on a cup of coffee, you know, you could contribute to our industry instead of stealing from us."
Glass tried to analyze for the students at the discussion how the culture seems almost to invite piracy.
"There's a whole stigma involved that, you know, there's nothing wrong with doing it 'cause it's porn, and I think that's because people don't really understand how the adult industry works and all the people that work behind the scenes and that's something that we really try to focus on, is showing that there's a whole group of people that work behind the scenes who are mostly middle income people, they're people just like you and me."
"When you steal adult content, there are so many other people that are involved in that equation that you're taking money from," Drake added, "and essentially what's going to keep happening, if people keep downloading free porn, then more and more companies are forced to go out of business. Eventually there will be no more new porn."
But after the discussion, Glass appeared optimistic that there might be government help on the horizon.
"I think more of the sites are going to start implementing fingerprinting," he advised, "and there's been talks in Congress about changing—what we have now is a notice-and-takedown, and they've been talking about changing that to a notice-and-stay-down, so that the same material can't be reposted to those sites. I think we're going to get that; you know, it's going to move in that direction."
But until then, Glass expects to be kept pretty busy dealing with current piracy problems.
"We've got a blacklist of some—I don't know—30,000 sites," he reckoned. "I mean, there's just a ridiculous amount of pirate sites. Nine of the top ten Google results for 'porn' result in a pirate or tube site, so a lot of people are Googling porn, is what I'm getting at."
But apparently the adult industry's anti-piracy pleas are being heard in some lofty corners of the internet. Top retailer Adult DVD Empire has inaugurated an anti-piracy site of its own, PayForYourPorn.org, aimed at supporting the industry's fight against online content theft.
Using the slogan "Porn Is Worth Paying For," the new site collects tweets with the hashtag #PayForYourPorn (or #P4YP), and it's already gotten comments from some adult actresses and directors.
"No way! Every video of me on a tube site is stolen and uploaded by some other user without my permission," actress Siri responded to one of her followers.
"If you're looking for my work, DO NOT go to torrent or tube sites. Just browse my site for links!" wrote actress/director Jiz Lee.
Tasha Reign made a short Tumblr video, which Siri linked to on PayForYourPorn.
Even the fans are getting with the program. "happy and honored to join in the good fight!!" wrote one, while another stated, "of course! I'm happy to support things I believe in. People need to understand that this is the right thing to do."
Piracy remains a major problem for the adult industry, but it's refreshing to see so many people and organizations working toward a solution.
Pictured: Jessica Drake at USC.