Saturday, 25 November 2017

Larcenyhub

I'm not even sure if I'm qualified to talk about this. But then, that's what a blog is for.

There are so many things that could be said about MindGeek. I have more of a problem with the Digital Economy Bill itself, obviously, but as the Vice article that's been doing the rounds suggests, the whole 'sharing of information to get access' thing is risky and flawed, and Blake's post about it does ask the important question: just how much do you want to give MindGeek, specifically when you don't know who's going to see it?

But I'm not here to talk about that - to add another scared voice to the throng. There are plenty of articles about the DE Bill and why it's an imperialist right-wing neoliberal stranglehold that's a contravention of international civil rights law (although it bears repeating) and, as linked to above, articles about its knock-on effect and handing over your identity to the Pornhub network.

But while I have my issues with this whole business, the thing I take issue with, really, is that all the tube sites on the Pornhub network use stolen porn.

And yes, I get it. Porn can be expensive. I certainly can't afford any, but then again, I can barely afford food. There's a lot of temptation there, when you're horny and nearly there and you just need that little kick to take you over the edge, to jump into RedTube or Thumbzilla or YouPorn and tap in keywords that you know will yield a specific result. It's the modern-day equivalent of downloading videos off KaZaA via your 56K dial-up connection back when you were a teenager. If it's there, and it's free, it's a lure. I've been there - it's so very hard to resist.

Lakitu is MindGeek; the 1UP is porn.
Yet there's still that ethical pickle that's presented. You know, at the back of the mind, that you need to pay for your porn. It's the right thing to do - it supports the people involved - the actors, the writers, the producers... everyone. You do the same thing when you rent a DVD from a shop or stream a whole series of BoJack Horseman via Netflix, and nobody seems to have a problem with that. Why is porn so different? Is it too sinful to pay for, or just too easy to find?

"Hang on, ILB," says the devil on my shoulder. "There's that one scene, isn't there? There's always that one scene you discover, but you don't know where to go if you want to buy it? Or maybe it's not available anywhere. Maybe it's by a company that's gone bust, Maybe it's amateur porn and you can't buy it. Or maybe it's just nowhere to be found. Back to Tube8 you go..."

And that's the problem. As visible as porn on the Pornhub network is, MindGeek is woefully lax in providing a "here's how to support this performer!" link. Google them if you must, but there's still the chance you won't be able to buy that scene you like so much. And why would you want to, if you've just seen it?

Therein lies the problem.

And yet there are still some sites that make things right. Even without being hidden behind a paywall. Chaturbate lets you watch people getting sexy online for free, but you can show your appreciation with tokens you pay for. xHamster relies primarily on stolen porn but is starting to produce its own, for which it pays those involved (with the knowledge that it will end up on a tube site.) Softcoretube has plenty of sex scenes on offer, but never the whole film - and those things you can buy on DVD.

And then there's the plethora of individual porn sites where you can just pay per scene. You may not  find that one scene you want. But you may find something just as good. Better. I've been watching porn for almost twenty years now, and I'm still discovering.

I suppose what I'm trying to say here is that paid-for porn needs to be pushed a little more. A little more visible. Of course, it's never going to reach the heights that the Pornhub network does - you can't deny that if it's free it'll always be the go-to click for somebody (realistically, quite a lot of somebodies). But we all have a voice, and if you're bold enough to say something like, "hey, this is a great scene, it's from this film; if you want to buy it, here's the link," then you may - just may - be doing a tiny bit of good for the person who made it.

So trawl Pornhub if you will - while you still can, even. We've all done it. But it might be worth considering, once you're sitting there in the satisfying glow of on orgasm well done, what you can do for them too. After all, they've just helped you come.

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