The porn industry doesn’t seem to mind giving away some free in order to make a sale or two. The porn industry is learning a lesson the music industry refuses to hear: Piracy doesn’t have to be a dirty word.
As recording industry officials sing dirges over a 2002 music-business sales slump and press ahead with lawsuits against file-sharing network platforms such as Kazaa, pornographers see an opening.
“You can’t beat them, so you ought to join them,” said Exploit Systems CEO Scott Hunter. “These are your most valued customers, the people who come specifically into your arena and say they want X, Y and Z. This is the most inquisitive, most important community possibly in the history of business.”
Hunter’s company has developed software that helps content providers put their legitimate versions of material being pirated onto the file-share networks in such a way that it overwhelms the pirated versions of the same material.
FalconFoto CEO Gail Harris sees the wisdom of this approach.
“We’re willing to give away a few images, and then if you’re interested in more, we have a whole archive of hundreds of thousands of images that you can subscribe to see,” says Harris, whose company provides photos of naked people to several porn magazines including High Society and Barely Legal, and boasts an online library of more than 1 million adult images.
“What we have is a captive audience of people we know are interested in our product because they went out seeking it themselves. Many of them are willing to pay for it, too.”
The Recording Industry Association of America refused to comment on the prospect of learning anything from the pornography business, a stance that reflects the business’ uneasiness with anything that would legitimize the concept of copyright infringements. One music official said privately that porn customers are seeking an immediate gratification that they’ll pay for, whereas music consumers aren’t quite so desperate for their fix.
Hunter and Tucker disagree, noting that devotees of singers and bands would also be willing to pay for the material — if only someone would ask them.
“What we have to do is to modify behavior so people will purchase this way, not take this way,” Hunter said. “They don’t pay because they’ve never had to. But now it’s time to make some order out of the chaos — and it’s a wonderful chaos.” [Wired]
Monetize the anarchy, that’s the ticket.