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November 20, 2008 02:30pm
FSC Summit Bridges Adult & Mainstream
Source: Free Speech Coalition
by: Company Press Release

Free Speech Coalition ''How to Survive and Thrive in the Digital Environment'' Summit Successfully Bridges Adult and Mainstream Media. A packed audience participates in discussions with legal experts on strategies against piracy and solutions for navigating the digital frontier.

(UNIVERSAL CITY, CA) -- On Tuesday, the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) presented its ''How to Survive and Thrive in the Digital Environment'' Summit, in the rooftop Starview Room of the Sheraton Universal, in Universal City, Calif.

The first-of-its-kind program featured experts and legal representatives from both adult and mainstream entertainment industries, discussing the impact of digital content delivery formats on entertainment media. Attendees, which included many of the adult industryís most prominent business owners and content producers, were anxious for information on navigating the new digital frontier and, in particular, on the topic of piracy.

''People are starting to get together to talk about these issues, and I think itís been very, very helpful,'' Steven Hirsch, founder and managing partner of adult production company Vivid Entertainment, said. ''Itís always good when we can get together and talk about these issue. These are really difficult times and our industry is evolving, so itís important that we continue to talk about it.''

FSC Executive Director Diane Duke started the dayís discussions by telling the audience that, among other issues, all content producers face the challenge of ''a whole generation that thinks that everything on your computer screen should be free.''

That point was demonstrated during the first panel, which featured Internet researcher Kelly Truelove. He showed, from a laptop computer, the methods that many pirates use to access infringed content through file-sharing and bit torrent websites. Truelove also spoke to emerging advancements in content ''fingerprinting;'' technology which allows material to be tracked when and where it appears on the Web, and also can be used to collect usage data and spot consumer trends.

Attorneys Michael DeSanctis, Katherine Fallow and George Borowksi talked about litigation strategies for pirate networks that have many ''layers'' of duplicity in terms of indexing sites, offshore servers and file-hosting sites that donít filter user-generated content.

The following panel discussed, more in-depth, the advantages and disadvantages of litigation for content producers. Legal experts from Universal Music Group, NBC-Universal, EMI Music North America and gay adult producer Titan Media all agreed; prosecution is a worthwhile, if costly, investment in preventing future infringement.

Attorney Steven Fabrizio, of Jenner & Block LLP, said that it was essential to ''target each part of the piracy chain,'' including ''uploaders, downloaders, ISPs, payment processors, as well as bit torrent sites with a significant amount of traffic.''

Titan Media Attorney Gill Sperlein has aggressively prosecuted content infringers and won more than 40 suits against pirates. He told the audience that due to Titanís proactive stance, many pirate networks had declared Titan material off-limits because of the probability of getting sued when they are found out. The studio employs a tight-knit network of informants, combined with advanced Web search techniques, in order to monitor the places where its pirated content turn up.

Speaking to the issue of monetization, the next panel discussed solutions from a mainstream angle, with representatives from the Motion Picture Association of America, Sony Music, UMG Music and Warner Bros. Studios.

Panel experts pointed out that while there are many new platforms to contend with in the digital landscape Ė video-on-demand, Internet protocol TV, mobile, and live streaming, among others Ė there are also increased opportunities for reaching diverse new audiences and making content pay.

''You want to be everywhere your customer is,'' Sony Vice President Lawrence Kanusher said, and bring them content ''where they are and how they want to consume it.''

Several recurrent themes were evident as the expert panel talked about for creating revenue streams from digital distribution. Focusing on a quality experience for the consumer was emphasized, in order to offer users extra value that infringed content cannot. Everyone on the panel agreed that content producers should never give away significant amounts of content and that all promotional material should lead consumers to a purchase opportunity.

''People will pay for functionality, service and convenience,'' Warner Bros. Vice President David Kaplan pointed out.

The dayís highlight was a featured panel with Vivid Entertainmentís Hirsch and Adult Entertainment Broadcasting Network Founder Scott Coffman. The panel was moderated by FSC board member and Sex.com News Director Tom Hymes.

The pair discussed piracy, with an emphasis on the question of whether tube sites would ultimately be a benefit or liability for content producers. The audience was riveted by commentary from Hirsh and Coffman, who recently settled a lawsuit between their two companies, Vivid and AEBN-owned Pornotube.

''You canít give away what you want to sell,'' Coffman reminded rapt audience members.

As a result of litigation with Vivid, Coffman told attendees that Pornotube had revised its policies. Users that upload content to Pornotube must be verified partners of the tube site, with their own legitimate content sites. Coffman said that Pornotube also now requires shortened video clips, no longer than five minutes, as an appropriate length for promotional purposes.

''These are huge changes that are really important,'' Hirsch said. He acknowledged Pornotube for being on the forefront of tube sites, and hoped that others would follow their lead in order to create positive relationships with legitimate content producers.

''Weíre all dealing with the same issues, so obviously it would be better if we could all work together, Hirsch added. ''To try and benefit from the tube sites is the way to go.''

Content producers should do their best, Coffman said, to ''protect and control'' their content through fingerprinting technology and dedicated efforts to monitor and pursue pirates.

However, Hirsch and Coffman agreed with other panelists that piracy has become a permanent evil and that media industries should be unified in their response to infringers.

That said, the final panel of the day discussed the role trade organizations, like FSC, played in unifying and representing industries, not only through litigation, but also education and as a resource of information.

As the advocate to legislators and legal watchdog for the adult industry, the FSC falls into its natural role as an information resource with events like the Digital Summit. The FSC is also aggressively pursuing further projects including more discussions on content piracy, as well as other pressing issues like business standards and ethics and workplace safety. The FSC serves an important role as a hub for industry members to discuss their concerns, issues and ideas for the future of the industry.

''Speaking to piracy is a chronic problem, and the long term effect of a trade organization can only be beneficial to any industry,'' Sony Music Senior Counsel Jennifer Pariser said. ''Not only with litigation, but helping you have a broader view of whatís going on in your industry.''

''Our industry is stronger when we work together,'' Hirsch said, after his panel appearance. ''Itís important that we continue to talk, continue to work together.''

The FSC Digital Summit was coordinated with the help of attorney Michael DeSanctis of Jenner & Block LLP, and attorney George Borkowski of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP.

Adult industry attorneys Clyde DeWitt, Paul Cambria, Greg Piccionelli, AL Gelbard and Michael Fattorosi also contributed to the discussion with opinions and questions for the panelists.

Adult industry members in attendance included: X-Playís Jeff Mullen, Evil Angelís Christian Mann, Wicked Picturesí Steve Orenstein, Adam & Eveís Bob Christian, Pure Play Mediaís Richard Arnold, VCXís David Sutton, Antigua Picturesí Todd Blatt, Playboyís Bob Johnson, Plaid Bag Mediaís Peter Reynolds, directors Roy Karch, Dave Cummings and Mike Quasar, Evotumís Mara Epstein, Falcon Photoís Jason Tucker, ASACPís Joan Irvine, Sparta Videoís Holly Ruprecht, publicists Wayne Hentai and Shari Beaumont, and XBIZís Alec Helmy, among others.

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