How does the porn industry stop digital pirates?

Just as you can download songs, so can you download digital images. Many hackers, for instance, circulate Playboy’s photos around the web. So how do porn services make money?

Porn services will sue people who sell their images for money, but they don’t usually go after users who share files amongst themselves, read this recent story. The industry is already based on churning out large amounts of product very rapidly and very cheaply. By the time one image is being pirated, another set of images is being promoted in any case.

Furthermore many people have very particular fetishes. They don’t just want images, they want images of a very specific kind. (Use your imagination to fill in the blanks here.) Mood matters as much as the specific practice. Often there is no simple way to describe your fetish and get the proper images to download. So you go to a paid site that specializes in your “thing” and you pay them to select and present it. Free pornographic images are common, but selection and context remain as valuable, albeit cheap, services.

Might this work as a business model for the music industry? Songs without titles? How about groups without names, for that matter? Hard to imagine. Groups need monikers to spread their fame by word of mouth. Peers wish to listen to and talk about the same music, whereby most porn viewers are content to have a more private experience. Furthermore the number of popular songs is limited and fans could assign their own names to the material, thus enabling downloading. Producing a good song is harder and more costly than producing a good porn shot, which again brings us back to a reliance on names and reputation. That being said, when it comes to untried bands, which exist in great profusion, the porn model may be precisely the future direction of popular music.


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