Porn producers have been capitalizing on American prudishness in a big way by obliquely threatening, i.e. through lawsuits, to erase the very discretion that is internet porn’s solemn promise for viewers who illegally download videos. These furtive porn consumers, however, have had enough, and now a Kentucky federal court suit accusing several porn producers of racketeering, fraud, defamation, and other such extortionist dealings has been filed on behalf of a Kentucky woman named Jennifer Barker.
The suit comes just a week after a judge characterized a BitTorrent lawsuit filed by Malibu Media “an extortion scheme.” Barker alleges that a representative from Intellectual Property Protection (a company named in the suit as working for porn studios) called her at work and at her home, demanding a legal settlement (cash money) for the porn (produced by Malibu Media) she allegedly illegally downloaded (Barker has denied illegally downloading anything). According to Wired, which has been keeping tabs on the porn industry’s seemingly extortionist strategy for combating piracy, Intellectual Property Protection threatened to publicly identifyBarker as a furtive porn watcher, banking on the fact that this would be such a grievous humiliation that she’d just ante up the settlement money and go back to quietly fingerblasting herself while she watched however many pairs of shaved genitals mash tastefully against each other. The federal suit claims that IPP,
Demanded that Ms. Barker pay money to settle the lawsuit or she would be identified publicly as having downloaded pornography and would be subject to hundreds of thousands of dollars as a judgement if the suit went forward because there were multiple downloads.
This piracy strategy is, as it turns out, a pretty old hat. Though defendants in such illegal downloading suits can face copyright violation fines of up to $150,000 under the U.S. Copyright Act, porn studios rarely have any intention of taking cases to court, preferring instead to collect some quick settlement money in the $1,000-$5,000 range. The logic is that people accused of pirating porn will fork over the settlement money rather than go to court and face the public embarrassment that apparently comes with being named in a porn lawsuit. Wired writes that the porn studio piracy strategy goes something like this:
They [porn companies] sue IP addresses in court – addresses detected to have allegedly and unlawfully downloaded copyrighted pornography without permission. Often, judges in these cases order internet service providers to cough up the identities of the account holders of the ISP – and the shakedown begins…
Pretty crafty, huh? Other than revealing their utter contempt for the hapless porn watcher, this BitTorrent online litigation reveals porn companies to be nothing more than legal trolls, waiting under the dark, dank bridge spanning the internet and waiting for some super horny goats to stumble across. Except, instead of eating the goats, these trolls threaten to shave off all their fur and spray paint, “Porn goat!” on their bodies before sending them off to the rest of the goats where they will surely be sanctimoniously ridiculed and subsequently banished from all mountain-climbing excursions.
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