Vivid Sues Clip Site PornoTube11 Dec, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Vivid Entertainment LLC, a major producer and distributor of adult DVDs and streamed content, has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Charlotte, N.C.-based AEBN Inc. and its user-generated site, PornoTube.
The suit, filed Dec. 6 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, requests a jury trial, permanent injunction and statutory damages of $150,000 per pirated video clip, or at least $4.5 million.
The action, supposedly the first of its kind in adult entertainment, mirrors legal action taken earlier this year by Viacom Inc., which filed a $1 billion copyright infringement suit against search behemoth Google Inc., and its subsidiary YouTube.
At issue are the rights of copyright holders and the security steps taken by third-party Web sites to prevent pirated content from being disseminated by users.
“We've decided to take a stand,” Vivid co-chairman Steven Hirsch told The Los Angeles Times. “We will go after all the free sites.”
The adult entertainment industry, similar to mainstream Hollywood, is experiencing a slowdown in DVD sales as increased distribution occurs via the Internet.
Unlike Hollywood content, however, 30-second and longer video clips offered online often suffices among adult consumers. With increased offerings of teaser and pirated clips, a sizable percentage of the market is at stake, say experts.
Last year when Vivid became one of the first content holders to allow burning of its material to blank DVDs, Richard Dougherty, media analyst with the Envisioneering Group, said adult entertainment had become a medium more about video clips than feature length movies.
“There are some adult entertainment movies you might not miss 30 seconds of,” Dougherty said.
Alleged pirated Vivid titles include Mission Erotica, Hawaiian Blast, Ginger on the Rocks and clips featuring socialite Kim Kardashian, daughter of late O.J. Simpson lawyer Robert Kardashian.
Vivid recently paid Kardashian $5 million for the DVD and electronic distribution rights to her personal sex tapes.
An AEBN representative declined comment.