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PLEASE READ: Chicken in the Hen House

18 Nov 2009 16:31 #17496 by lfan
I just wanted to take the time to say 'thank you' to Kelly, Random, Jon X, Wise_01 and the rest of the 'pay' content producers who labor so hard to produce original material for us at their expense/risk, and in return ask for a small membership/download fee. Without their efforts, we all would be forced to wait for the small ubergirl scraps that mainstream media throws from their dinner table from time to time.

Being on the other side of the curtain for a few of the Steele sites and The Awakening, I know how much is cleared as profit and -- guys, I gotta tell ya -- its not as much as most of you think! While I won't be naive enough to believe or think they don't make a profit, it is their right for taking the risk, outlaying the expenses, and have the cahones of asking girls "Here put on this costume"!

Why this rambling you ask? Well, because I found a rather disturbing site last night in the depths of the internet underworld that is undermining all of the aforementioned sites. I won't mention it here for obvious reasons but the crux is this site basically is posting a good bit of these creators content for free download as it is released.

OK...I get it. This is the internet and this happens and I've seen it happen, but rarely in such a blatent format where an entire genre's inventory is basically blasted out to anyone who wants it barely after it has time to circulate.

I find it quite ironic that the person -- who seemingly loves this genre (because he apparently bought these videos) -- would undermine the efforts of so many!

Listen "Bud" (you know who you are)....the margins on this stuff is razor thin and you are now doing anyone who likes this stuff any favors by pimping it out for nothing more than virtual Karma Points!

Enjoy it now, fanboys, cause if this keeps up and sales go down on these sites, they will go away...never to return! And no one wins with that scenario! I would complain to the moderator of the forum, but he is guilty of the same piracy as well!

There are some sites I've seen where the membership/contributors really police themselves and come down on people that try to share (CNNJack's RunBoard is an excellent example of that). Several times, I've seen solicitors shooed away or sharers' posts taken down by the mods there. Kudos to the community there!!

So why am I posting this here? Well, to encourage the people that frequent this site (and hopefully appeal to the poster in question) that small genre content sites like this deserve a chance and shouldn't be undermined with "real-time piracy" as updates are posted. There are several members of this forum that are members there (I recognize the usernames -- its not hard) so I would encourage them to stand up and say something and support your local genre sites.

Just a quick venting.....am I alone in this train of thought?

ElF

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18 Nov 2009 17:21 #17497 by martinblasick
Replied by martinblasick on topic PLEASE READ: Chicken in the Hen House
It's a pandemic. Major newspapers closing down. Content must be monetized somehow or there will be no content. No one really wants to pay, tho. Personally I make a donation here and there. There's a music support site that runs that way for ProTools users.

If everyone gave $5 it would be HUGE. I've made some $15 donations and gotten sincere appreciate email in return (at least some of the time). It's a bigger problem than any one genre. It's anything that can be delivered via data over the net.

If you downloaded all of a music artists cd's and listen like crazy, see if they have a donate page and send $3. Here and there. Don't break the bank. Just realize there's a cause and effect. No one person can solve it. But it's like not being a litterbug, every little action helps.

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18 Nov 2009 19:53 #17503 by Helstar
Replied by Helstar on topic PLEASE READ: Chicken in the Hen House
You can't do anything about it. I know it's sad, but it's the way internet, or better, life works :S

But honestly: who can say "I have bought all the SW stuff I got in my HD ?" (I mean also NOT considering mainstream movies/tv-series stuff on DVD)... I think 1% or maybe less ^^ of course it's different somebody who pays an average of 30-40$ a month (like me) compared to somebody who doesn't give a cent (various reasons, not only idiocy but also "I don't have any money because I don't work/I'm only a student etc.").

The list of the offered material is HUGE, and I think nobody (except Bill Gates sons xD) could afford to pay for everything they'd like to have/see, in my case I prefer to give my few money to those people who met my tastes in SW (=no peril or bondage or p0rn, only dominant heroines).

Sometimes I surf around trying to find more stuff, I wouldn't have discovered early last year this wonderful "underground" world of SW without those kind of 'forums', in some % they make some kind of advertisement, people like me start to know the 'scene' and contribute/buy/support, the rest is there only to lurk and download but I'm not surely wrong if I say they wouldn't pay anyway for the clips if those weren't there.

I hope anyway that those who pay are enough to give the necessary support to our beloved sites, otherwise yes, they'll close, one after one.

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19 Nov 2009 00:35 #17512 by inactive
Replied by inactive on topic PLEASE READ: Chicken in the Hen House
That's a shame. It's always the smaller guys that get hurt, it seems.

- GeekSeven

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19 Nov 2009 08:08 #17515 by mo
Replied by mo on topic PLEASE READ: Chicken in the Hen House
Lets hope the person responsible reads Lfans post and grows a conscience.
I'd also like to add heartfelt thanks to Bully, Random, JonX et all - what you guys have achieved over the last few years is nothing short of incredible. Who'd have thought we'd have had all this content to [/i]buy 10 years ago and long may it continue:)

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19 Nov 2009 16:08 #17517 by jdrock24
Replied by jdrock24 on topic PLEASE READ: Chicken in the Hen House
Yeah, I can't believe someone would post all of that stuff for free. What a loser!

I'm not the richest person in the world so I don't have everything I want but I still won't download that stuff. I'll just save and budget my money and get it eventually. That's called self control. I have a huge problem with idiots on the internet who think that everything should be handed out for free. But what amazes me even more is the people who give it to them like Mr. "Bud".

Oh well, I hope this doesn't become an epidemic and that all these great sites can survive.

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19 Nov 2009 21:22 #17519 by taliesan
Replied by taliesan on topic PLEASE READ: Chicken in the Hen House
Probably the best thing to do is to notify the relevant party and let them decide what to do about it. There is a chance, however slim, that the site may actually have permission to post the pics. I recently came across a site that has maybe 6 photo sets taken from one of 'our' websites. I doubt the website in question has permission to post them, but I PM'd the owner here to let him know and let him be the one to raise the cry of piracy, if he so chooses.

It's good that we're tight knit enough of a community to look after our creative members and help them retain control of distribution. But this does have greater implications. What about bit-torrents of TV shows that aren't being broadcast anymore yet aren't on DVD? YouTube video clip postings. Comic book page scans. Even some of the terrific fan art of copyrighted heroines technically violates some copyright laws, regardless of if the companies decide it's too much of a hassle to enforce from both a legal and PR standpoint.

The whole issue of copyrights and fair use is becoming increasingly grey, especially when you throw the Internet into the mix. There's an example in sci-fi fandom from way back. Many years ago, the BBC lost many of the original copies of several early Dr. Who episodes. They only discovered this when they went to transfer the series to VHS for retail sales. Many of the early William Hartnel and Patrick Troughton eps were considered lost for good. Until a fan sent the BBC copies of missing episodes that he had recorded when they had aired on a Hong Kong TV station years before. Technically, yes, the fan broke copyright law by recording the episodes without permission (I don't think that the 'single copy fair use' of broadcast eps had been established at the time). However, because of his actions, one of the great sci-fi series was a bit more complete and able to be enjoyed for generations to come.

Bottom line: it's all in the intent. You know if you're doing something wrong or not. And with the Internet the way it is, the best we can hope for is for the majority of people to do the right thing.

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21 Nov 2009 11:56 #17545 by Artnico
Replied by Artnico on topic PLEASE READ: Chicken in the Hen House
I'm totally agree with you Lfan.

Artnico.
"Superstrong women are sexy"

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22 Nov 2009 15:46 #17559 by sadetec
Replied by sadetec on topic PLEASE READ: Chicken in the Hen House
Obviously we need to protect the income of the sites but before anyone fires off angry emails to the pirates please stop and think for a moment. The sites aren't exactly on sound legal ground themselves.

Did you know names like SuperHeroineCentral probably violate the Marvel/DC Comics trademark on the term "superhero" and its variations? Yes, since 1979 these companies have jointly owned "superhero", "super-hero", "superheroes" etc, you can use the word in regular conversation but you can't use it in a product or company name.

Copyright law (I'm not a lawyer, btw) works on the basis of the owner defending their rights. If I publish my own Mindy Marvel photo story and Random doesn't ask me to take it down this weakens his hold on the copyright to the character (registered protections like patients and trademarks are different, the owner is allowed to pick and choose who to go after, but copyright is an all-or-nothing deal.) Companies like DC deliberately ignore the fan scene for the very reason that if any copyright infrindgement came to their notice they'd have no option but to C&D the infringer.

All it would take is one angry email to DC and it could cause a lot of hassle for our favorite sites. DC would have no option once they couldn't pretend not to know. Obviously we need to stand up to these pirates, but we need to do it in a way which keeps the sites off the radar.

Lfan, was the site you mentioned a forum or a blog? Because if it was a thread on a forum you can usually get an admin to yank the thread, and then the admin takes the blame reducing the chance of the pirate kicking back at the community itself. Same with a blog, send an email to blogger.com or whoever citing copyright, and let them take the pirate's wrath.

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22 Nov 2009 19:01 #17560 by taliesan
Replied by taliesan on topic PLEASE READ: Chicken in the Hen House
Actually, sadetec, the companies are more aware of these sites than you think. They don't do anything about them because the PR hassle isn't worth it. Also, in a way, these sites also enhance the value of the properties by providing images, stories, and situations that the companies would not, cannot, or do not wish to engage in providing. I have a friend that makes his living as a freelance artist at cons: he does commissioned artwork of both original and famous characters at conventions, in full sight of both DC and Marvel, and they've never asked him to stop because they know the kind of fan backlash they'd face if they shut down all art operations like this. It's a fine balancing act and there are 'rules' to it, such as never claiming the copyright for your own and never publicly displaying any 'adult' art involving the characters.

Smaller sites, like SSH, PSW, and the Steeles, can't afford to ignore their material being posted elsewhere. Like lfan said, the profit margin is razor thin.

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22 Nov 2009 21:11 #17561 by Bully_pup
Replied by Bully_pup on topic PLEASE READ: Chicken in the Hen House
Thanks for the compliments and the heads up Lafan.

Hmm.. How do I respond to this.....
I actually have a lot to say about this. I just don't have the steam at the moment.
It's not like it's the first time. But, it does suck just the same. Having been at this for the better part of a decade, I know the types of people that would do it. I'll get into that later.
It's not that hard to find out who's posting them. It's just a matter of deciding what to do about it.
There are long term fixes, but I don't like any of them. In the end, it'll be the subscribers that to play nicely that pay for it, and I really don't want to go there just yet.
We'll see what happens......

bully_pup -- Kelly

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22 Nov 2009 21:12 #17562 by Bully_pup
Replied by Bully_pup on topic PLEASE READ: Chicken in the Hen House
Lfan... Not Lafan.. I really should use that "preview" button more often.

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22 Nov 2009 23:32 #17565 by sadetec
Replied by sadetec on topic PLEASE READ: Chicken in the Hen House

Actually, sadetec, the companies are more aware of these sites than you think. They don't do anything about them because the PR hassle isn't worth it..


I'm sure they are aware of it but they pretend not to notice (for the reasons you mention.) The key is plausable denyability, they need to be able to claim they didn't know, because if someone can prove they ignored an infringement they knew about their work risks being declared public domain. If someone emails them it puts them in a tricky position.

I'm not a lawyer, but I worked for a company which dealt with some major sports brands who pretended not to notice various fan run sites on the internet. Two fan sites got into a dispute which got so heated it ended up being reported in the press. At this point the brands involved had no choice but to send letters to the sites demanding the removal of photos and logos etc, even though many employees were frequent visitors to the fan sites concerned. They didn't want to do this, but the lawyers told them they risked losing control of their brand logos etc if it could be proven they knowingly ignored the sites.

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23 Nov 2009 01:23 #17566 by ace191
Replied by ace191 on topic PLEASE READ: Chicken in the Hen House
I am not a lawyer either, but there is a difference between not for profit
"Fan Sites", and for profit sites. Fan site "promote" the product by stirring up discussion. Our site here for instance, talks about DC/Marvel books that are coming up or that we have read. You could make a very good
argument that we help to promote their products without damaging their image or copyrights.

It is much trickier when you run a for profit site. If you are using a DC image, they are going to want control of that, along with a slice of the action if you are making any real money at it. I would wonder if Jonx, or
Bully_Pup have ever gotten "letters" from the folks at DC.

Both of them, along with Random and most everyone else has exercised good taste as far as I can tell and have not degraded really any of their images. In short, they try hard not to give DC a reason to come after them, and they try to use slightly different names to further discourage it.

Anything that comes in a digital format, or that can be put into one is easy to steal and move on the internet. Credit card info, or pictures of Superheroes, it is all the same. Ask anyone in the recording business. better yet, next time you pass by a truck stop, take a close look at their
Country Western CD's. As my dad used to always say, the laws work because the vast majority of the people understand the need for them and obey them voluntarily. Let's hope that this will also hold true when it comes to Superwomen photosets and videos.

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23 Nov 2009 01:56 #17567 by sadetec
Replied by sadetec on topic PLEASE READ: Chicken in the Hen House

I am not a lawyer either, but there is a difference between not for profit


Not when it comes to copyright. The only defence you have is "fair use", and believe me none of the sites we're talking about here are remotely fair use (you don't have to be a lawyer to know that!)

As you may have guessed, I have a fair bit of experience of this, on several fronts. I won't bore you with the details, but someone mentioned Doctor Who episodes returned to the BBC earlier, well I happen to be good friends with some of the group who tracked down missing episodes of shows for the BBC, and I've often spoken to them about the merry dance they have to do to avoid legal problems. I've also had one of my friends actually been served with a C&D from the BBC as well (for writing his own free-to-download Doctor Who ebook novels online) which he tried to fight using the same arguments you've outlined.

What you have to understand it this, unlike with patients or trademarks the copyright holders DOES NOT HAVE A CHOICE. The law is enforce it or lose it! You can argue until you're blue in the face about the good you're doing and how you're not making any profit, but the copyright holder is obliged by law to take action once they find out, or other parties can claim they've abandoned their copyright. As far as the law is concerned knowingly letting one person abuse your copyright means ANYONE can abuse your copyright.

(In the case of my friend someone close to the BBC hinted the company with the official licience to produce Doctor Who books complained and the BBC couldn't pretend not to notice his ebook site any longer.)

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07 Feb 2010 10:30 #18188 by JonX
Replied by JonX on topic PLEASE READ: Chicken in the Hen House
Hey, I know the forum that lfan is talking about, and I was on the forum and asked 'Bud' to kindly remove some content from SuperSexyHeroines.com, ProjectSuperwoman, and SuperheroineFilms.com, and I was banned from the forum!

The other thing about that particular forum is that its all based around kudos. People post up content and other members give them kudos points. The more kudos points a person accumulates the higher he is thought of in the community.

So that's what content providers are dealing with - this imaginary kudos.

Lfan is completely right - the margins on creating this kind of content is so so so so small. For the first year I paid out thousands without any real return. Even now I make very little profit - its simply a labour of love.

So the guys that steal content and post it so they can get imaginary kudo from their peers reduce that profit, and eventually content providers will just give up.

I can imagine Bud is probably reading this sniggering away, knowing that he's got his 1000 kudos points, and its a real shame there are people like him.

Anyway, that's my bit!

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08 Feb 2010 00:10 #18196 by willow
Replied by willow on topic PLEASE READ: Chicken in the Hen House
Actually, telling the person to take the stuff down is the first step. After "Bud" banned you, you need to contact the ISP that hosts the Forum. Tell them that they are hosting your copyrighted material for free distribution against your wishes. Inform the ISP that you will take legal action is they do not remove this material from their website.

If you have a lawyer write up a cease and desist letter, that will go over more strongly too. Most ISPs have strict rules against this type of activity, and you should be able to get them to shut down. It is the same as if they were offering free downloads of Adobe, Poser, or other paid software.

However, I will state that I have found similar "forums" online and it is not uncommon for viruses, spyware, and other malware to be buried inside the downloads. So download at your own risk too.

Furthermore, make sure your own websites have "Terms of Usage" pages clearly marked on the site. It is one thing to copyright the website and images on them, but it is a good idea to outline that membership or purchase of materials on this site does not give the user access to freely distribute them on the Internet. They are for the individuals who purchased them and no one else.

Alexa

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08 Feb 2010 08:00 #18197 by d_k_c
Replied by d_k_c on topic PLEASE READ: Chicken in the Hen House
The Irony of course being…That you yourself are dealing with copy right material. The silver lining is that if, hypothetically speaking, your material is downloaded for free over a million times and you take even a single % point of those downloader’s as new customers. Well your looking at a very profitable return. The bottom line is, your girls are hot and your stories are fun….Keep up the good work and good things will follow. It’s the internet, and it’s the nature of the beast. Be creative, don’t put out garbage and I promise this will work to your advantage.

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12 Feb 2010 17:30 #18234 by accomics
Replied by accomics on topic PLEASE READ: Chicken in the Hen House

The silver lining is that if, hypothetically speaking, your material is downloaded for free over a million times and you take even a single % point of those downloader’s as new customers. Well your looking at a very profitable return.


This is a nice thought, but that's simply not the way it happens. People who are content to download entertainment for free will rarely EVER convert to paying customers. The number of people downloading free content on the internet is staggering... the number willing to PAY for content is significantly smaller... FAR less than 1%.

Small studios operate on a slim profit margin... and in many cases, speaking from experience, NO actual profit at all. There is NO silver lining or any polite spin that is applicable to pirating material from independent studios on the scale of the producers you see here at this forum. File sharing only diminishes sales in a niche market where sales are already too small to sustain good product. It's theft... pure and simple... and it IS putting people out of business, thus diminishing the amount of material that producers can provide.

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