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Shane’s World Has Lost $500,000 to Piracy This Year; Casey Parker Vid Took Big Hit

Porn Valley- Fed up with losing profits to illegal downloads and copies of their work, producers and filmmakers in the adult entertainment industry are taking more aggressive steps to go after pirates already in the sights of their colleagues at mainstream studios.

While individual companies have taken action to protect their products, a meeting Sept. 5 in Universal City was the first attempt at collaborating against piracy among the creators and distributors of adult content.

About 60 representatives of adult entertainment firms in the San Fernando Valley and elsewhere – including big names like Vivid Entertainment, Digital Playground, and Red Light District – turned out to discuss what they can collectively do to slow the loss of revenues to illegal distribution.

“You can’t have an exclusive product if it’s free,” said Jason Tucker, president and co-owner of Falcon Foto, a Sylmar-based photo and video library.

The driving force behind organizing the meeting was Shane’s World, a Chatsworth company known for its series of DVDs sending porn stars to party on college campuses.

The company has lost an estimated $500,000 to piracy this year, said its head of Internet operations who goes by the single name Airek.

The last straw came when Airek was checking on-line search results for the company’s contract star Casey Parker and he came across six peer-to-peer sites giving away a DVD that Shane’s World had spent tens of thousands of dollars producing and which had been released just two days earlier.

“We are the ones being robbed and being taken to the cleaners,” Airek said.

It’s a complaint familiar to the boardrooms of Warner Bros., Paramount, Universal and the other major studios in Los Angeles. Pirating cost those studios $6.1 billion worldwide in 2005, according to the most recent statistics from the Motion Picture Association of America.

In the adult entertainment industry, the loss in 2007 is estimated at $2 billion, according to the Global Anti-Piracy Agency, a not-for-profit formed in June to tackle porn piracy and based in North Hollywood.

The loss is figured at about 25 percent of the industry’s overall revenues of $8.5 million; it is the same percentage the movie and recording industries use to calculate their loss to piracy, said Caryn Goldberg, interim executive director of GAPA.

“It is a number that makes sense but it could be higher,” said Goldberg, who attended the Universal City meeting.

The formation of GAPA and Falcon Foto’s filing of lawsuits to protect its copyrighted images shows there is an interest in the industry against piracy but so far it has been just at the individual level.

Perhaps the industry didn’t see the value of working together to combat a problem hurting all of them. Both Goldberg and Tucker give credit to Shane’s World for taking the initiative to change that.

Like the mainstream film and music industries, adult entertainment faces the challenge of overcoming an attitude that downloading a video from the Internet is not seen as theft.

“Because it is entertainment, people think they shouldn’t have to pay for it,” Tucker said.

At the same time, the industry doesn’t want to repeat the mistakes of the music companies and come down too hard on loyal viewers. It is companies that make money from pilfered product that should be targeted and not individuals doing the downloading, Goldberg said.

“We want to let them know that there are alternatives,” Goldberg added.

Airek, of Shane’s World, called the meeting a baby step in going after the thieves.

A Web site has been started to be an information clearinghouse and a committee of industry veterans who have had the most success in fighting piracy has been established.

Although the meeting drew a small fraction of the Valley’s adult entertainment business, Airek remained optimistic others will follow.

“This business is bandwagon-oriented,” Airek said. “Once they see we are having success, the other adult companies will join in.”

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