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'Profiting from piracy'

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A major producer of adult videos yesterday filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles federal court against YouTube clone PornoTube for "allowing its users to post videos that include copyrighted material".

Vivid Entertainment Group claims that PornoTube - a subsidiary of Data Conversions Inc, which trades in Charlotte, NC, as AEBN Inc - is hosting "excerpts of tapes that include such Vivid titles as Night Nurses, Where the Boys Aren't 7, and the private work of TV personality Kim Kardashian*". The lawsuit is claiming $150,000 per infringed work, according to the the LA Times.

Vivid co-chairman Steven Hirsch said: "We've decided to take a stand and say 'no more'. We will go after all the free sites." He conceded that piracy has "always existed", but described it as "detrimental for the company as it tries to sell more of its content over the web". He noted: "Competing with free internet videos is bad enough, but competing with free versions of Vivid's material is maddening."

Hirsch added that he "wasn't interested" either in negotiating a deal with websites whereby the two parties split ad revenue generated while Vivid clips are playing - something which other producers have already agreed to - or "constantly keeping watch for Vivid material popping up without the company's permission".

He stressed: "I can't be a policeman, and I don't intend to be."

Fellow pornographer "Jon B", vice president at Red Light District, agreed that the industry was suffering "an unacceptable amount of theft", but said targeting individual sites was "likely to prove futile because so many existed and because file-trading occurred over decentralised networks, leaving no single party to sue".

He said Red Light was considering the alternative line of attack favoured by the music biz - going after the individual downloaders. He concluded: "If it scares them enough, if it can take away 20 per cent of the illegal downloads, we'll be doing the best that we can." ®

Bootnote

*The talented Ms Kardashian has appeared in Playboy, and famously romped in a steamy "homemade" grumble flick with then squeeze Ray J. It's apparently punted by Vivid under the title Kim Kardashian Superstar.

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