Ethical Content & Unethical Consumption — Contrary to popular belief, Free Porn Day isn’t just another way of saying “every day.”

I recently spoke to Allee Manning at Vocativ about ethical content and “Free Porn Day.”

A “technical” “Day” — not just a cheering euphemism for every day — the first annual Free Porn Day began on the evening of September 7, 2016. In honor of this newly minted holiday, 100 adult sites with paywalls teamed up to offer their varied offerings for free for 24 hours — all in hopes of eventually attracting more paying customers.

According to Allee, depending on who you are, this either sounds great or raises the question: Who still pays for porn?

If you know anything about my work and/or social justice based inclinations, you know I am hotly anti-piracy and theft. As such, when I hear people refer to sites like xHamster and PornHub as “free porn sites,” or simply “porn sites,” I cringe. Sites like these are populated with stolen content, making consumers culpable in a cycle of exploitation every. single. time. they (mostly unknowingly) stop to check them out.

You can read Allee’s piece “On ‘Free Porn Day,’ Looking At Why People Still Pay For Their Smut” right — here (September 7, 2016)…

…and you can read my full correspondence with Allee, which goes into great detail re ethical content and porn production and unethical porn consumption, below.

AM: How would you define ethical porn, and where is one most likely to find it?

DrCT: Ethical porn requires, at minimum, consent and a safe workplace. One can find ethical porn all over the place, currently and in content produced during previous decades – with professionally produced “mainstream” content, more indie-type porn, and web-based content that’s more creative in terms of production and distribution. Like feminist-based content, ethical content is a frame of mind that informs production more so than it is a specific form or locality.


AM: How would you describe the demographic that tube sites seem to be targeting, and how are they doing so?

DrCT: At their core, tube sites are inherently unethical. The vast majority of the content tube sites display is pirated (read: stolen). As such, even if the content itself is ethically produced, because of the piracy cycle that is inherently exploitative of producers and performers (many of who are simultaneously producers of their own content), content viewed on piracy-based tube sites is unethical.

As far as who piracy-based tube sites are targeting, perhaps they are targeting unethical – or at least unwittingly unethical – consumers? I am not sure how they go about doing this specifically, but it seems that a lot of tube site marketing jettisons any discussion of where their content comes from in lieu of clever marketing campaigns about fun consumption. Our wider cultural unawareness about the processes behind porn production and porn piracy facilitate this.


AM: How would you characterize the content available on tube sites, if able to paint with a broad brush?

DrCT: A lot of tube site content is “orphaned” content – content that no longer has a copyright holder capable of demanding takedown via DMCA. Or, it’s content that’s just been produced and is in the process of being taken down (rapid turnover). Or, it’s content from producers that don’t necessarily have the resources to get it taken down. DMCA processing requires time, know-how, and professionalism. Policing tube sites for your stolen content is a full time job, but based on how existing law is written, the responsibility lies with the copyright holder.


AM: Some people who choose subscription porn services do so because they feel the porn they find on the tube sites is degrading to women, with language like “watch this b**** suck d***.” How would you characterize this type of moral/ethical/simply personal conundrum? To expand on this, do you feel that diverse portrayals of women and female sexuality are limited on mainstream porn/tube sites? 

DrCT: Oftentimes on piracy-based tube sites, content is tagged in ways that uploaders/pirates and webmasters feel resonate with consumers. So you may see content described as “watch this b**** suck d***” …and then when you watch it, it’s a perfectly reasonable, non-misogynistic blowjob. Sure, these tags may on occasion be at a tenor that matches the tenor of the content, but the vast majority of the time, these descriptors are being created by people who have absolutely no involvement in the content’s production. As such, these descriptors become more about what tube sites think the public is looking for – and what we as a public seek out.

The best way to alleviate any ethical conundrums viewers may have with this is to find content you like and then pay to view said content. Go to producer websites directly. Go to reputable retail sites like to access streaming content from multiple producers at once. Also, support performers that you like and whose work you enjoy. And stop watching stolen free porn on piracy-based tube sites. (Free Day of Porn promos that are sanctioned by producers and performers do not count as piracy-based viewing!)

Well… what do you think about porn piracy online, ethical content, and unethical consumption?


(pictured: It’s not ok to steal — pay for you goods!!)

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