CYBERSPACE—In one of those rare coincidences, BetaBeat.com just published an interview with Takedown Piracy's Nate Glass and Wicked Pictures' contract star Jessica Drake about their decision to work together to keep pirated versions of adult movies—most notably Wicked Pictures'—off the internet. Thing is, though, much of what they said is well in line with Hollywood's latest antipiracy push, this time spearheaded by CreativeFuture, a coalition of movie and television producers, unions and companies headed by producer Ruth Vitale (Hustle & Flow, The Virgin Suicides), that's looking to make deals with "legitimate companies that may be complicit with film piracy"—a solution somewhat less applicable to XXX.
Nonetheless, it's surprising how some statements in both articles show how attuned both sides' antipiracy efforts are.
For example, Drake told BetaBeat of her experiences confronting fans with piracy: "I have absolutely had fans come up to me at signings, and I’ll [ask if they want] to buy a movie, and they say, 'I’ve never bought one of your movies—I download them all for free online!'," Drake recounted. "My knee jerk reaction is I get very angry, but I try to explain that the best way to support their favorite stars is to buy their products. People say, 'I didn’t know it was wrong,' or, 'But isn’t that just really great for you [in terms of publicity]?' But you can’t monetize that. There is no monetization there. They just don’t get that."
And Hollywood's take?
"As for the very young, Ms. Vitale says she sees signs that children raised in homes where legitimate streaming from Netflix and Hulu are routine can be persuaded to think differently than millennials, many of whom take for granted the concept of free content online," wrote New York Times reporter Michael Cieply, who went on to quote Vitale explaining piracy to kids: "It’s as simple as this: One kid does a painting, and another kid comes up and puts his name on it."
BetaBeat also got Drake to tell about her first experience with piracy: "Things changed for me when I saw one of the biggest movies that [I'd made so far], Fallen, [had been pirated]. I found Fallen online on a tube site pretty much right after it was released. And it was such a personal feeling for me all the way back then. I didn’t know a lot of about piracy back then, but it felt like theft, like a violation, like I did all of this hard work and for what? People were just passing it around for free."
Hollywood faces similar problems.
"The Motion Picture Association reported last week that after rising sharply for three years, the number of independent films dropped about a percentage point in 2013, to 545 movies from 549," Cieply wrote. "Ms. Vitale attributed the falloff to piracy-driven problems that have made it more difficult to finance an independent film by selling rights to foreign territories, where viewers flock to poorly controlled pirate sites, bypassing conventional outlets and the revenue they once provided to finance films. 'Spain used to account for 8 percent of your budget,' she said. 'Now, it's zero.' ... Jean Prewitt, chief executive of the Independent Film and Television Alliance, said Italy was rapidly following Spain into the 'no sale' column. 'It’s not about lost profit. It’s about the ability to finance a picture in the first place,' Ms. Prewitt said."
Drake sees the same thing happening in XXX: "I’ve been on sets with other talent who’ve worked for other companies who have been asked to lower their rates. Companies aren’t thriving, and smaller companies are going out of business. It’s creating a host of other issues for people."
According to the Times article, ever since the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was tabled in early 2012, Hollywood's been seeking ways to protect its content by non-legislative methods, like Vitale's idea to "build alliances with educational nonprofit groups that might enforce the notion that stealing an artist’s work online is just like lifting from a classmate’s desk"—a "softer touch" that's not so different from what Glass and Drake do when speaking at colleges.
"With young people, they don’t have a lot of disposable income—they have that 'don’t care' attitude sometimes," Glass told BetaBeat. "When you’re watching that stuff on that tube site, often times it’s not there with consent. That was something I tried to hammer home at University of Chicago: consent. ... when somebody takes Jessica’s movie and uploads it to a tube site, that’s a violation of her consent."
Wouldn't that same logic apply to piracy of Hollywood features?
So aside from some excellent arguments on why piracy is not okay, considering the areas of agreement on philosophy and methods, it's a shame that the adult community and the MPAA can't find ways to work together to achieve their common goals.