In Parallel Universe, Porn Producer Sues YouTube Clone

The world of pornography often mirrors the world of “respectable” publishing and content. For years the adult film awards in LA both mocked and aspired to be like the Oscars. Porn producers are also often tech pioneers, the most famous example of which is the adoption of the VCR early on for distribution. And many online ad networks and webhosts built their businesses on porn. For example, until about a week ago, roughly a third of AdBrite’s ad impressions were porn (according to TechCrunch).

With the rise of YouTube has come a parallel universe of online video porn. One site that apes YouTube, PornoTube, has equally been accused of allowing copyrighted material to be illegally posted on the site and is being sued by porn producer Vivid Entertainment Group. Vivid has sued PornoTube in litigation that exactly mirrors the Viacom suit against YouTube.

Just as there’s a lot at stake for traditional TV producers as more users migrate to the Internet and watch video online, the porn industry faces perhaps an even more dire version of that predicament. According to an article describing the lawsuit in the LA Times:

[T]he rapid increase in consumption of all manner of videos on the Web has in some ways hurt the porn producers more than the mainstream companies because consumers of adult fare often get what they are looking for in clips of five minutes or less. Free short clips are easy to find on the Web, undercutting the established porn producers, which earn most of their money from long-form videos.

For those interested, here’s an article about online video destroying the porn industry from Conde Nast’s Portfolio magazine. Again, this is both a caricature and mirror of what’s happening in the “respectable” world of mainstream media.

For all these reasons, the Vivid litigation will aggressively attempt to shut down free porn sites that offer allegedly copyrighted video to protect their franchise and their future. But that won’t be easy.

Related Topics: Channel: Video | Legal: Copyright | Search Engines: Video Search Engines

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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