Porn in the Digital Age: Why Pay?

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While she's grateful for what turned into a huge financial success, Lisa Ann has little tolerance for porn thieves.

"We can talk to people about having a little integrity and not stealing porn," she said, "I wouldn't steal music. I always download and buy music. ... Everybody deserves to get paid for what they do."

But many porn viewers don't care so much about seeing the top stars rather than what they can find for free.

"A certain percentage of people just don't care. They want it for free. And what we've done is we've educated an entire generation to think that adult material is free," Hirsch said. "Very difficult to change that mindset."

PornoTube Unleashes Pandora's Box of Piracy

The industry's trouble is of its own creation -- or more specifically, of Scott Coffman's. He's president and CEO of the Adult Entertainment Broadcast Network (AEBN).

In 2006, he launched the adult industry's version of YouTube, called PornoTube, which has become the leading provider of on-demand adult videos online. Users can upload video clips or photos for anyone to see at no cost.

"We launched PornoTube like everyone else, looking for traffic, and it skyrocketed," Coffman said.

But now Coffman has some regrets, admitting he thought the site would encourage users to purchase porn instead of pirate it.

"That was the worst thing I've done since I was in the adult business," he said. "What I didn't realize is the amount of people who would copy what I was doing and take it to a degree that was unheard of by ... hundreds of sites out there showing stolen content with lengths of clips of 30 to 45 min."

Coffman's creation made him a lot of enemies in the industry.

"They hated me when I first started it," he said. "About six months later, when all these other sites came out, then they really realized the impact of what we had brought forth.

"There's nothing you can do. It's almost impossible to battle piracy. The 'tube' sites in the porn world are here to stay. We've got to live with them," he said.

New Gadget Seeks to Simulate Sex

Coffman is looking to new technology again -- this time to turn things around. AEBN has created an interactive device for men, called the RealTouch, which is meant to simulate sex. The device syncs up with adult content video on a TV or computer screen to simulate the activities taking place in the movie.

Coffman believes the product, which he calls an adult take on the gaming system "Wii," is pirate-proof.

Hirsch also is looking to technology and hoping digital watermarks will make pirated content easier to find and police. In the meantime, his game plan for survival in the digital world is to be everywhere.

"What we need to do is look at our business and where are all the revenue streaks so that we're not dependent on just DVD sales," Hirsch said. "There's DVD, there's TV, there's Internet, there's wireless, there's international, there's licensing. We need to look at it globally and say, 'OK, we need to be sure we get our piece of the pie in every one of those businesses.'"

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