opinion

A Stop to Stopping File Lockers?

Stephen Yagielowicz

I’ve written before about the importance of supporting the industry organizations that support the industry, as without your financial and other material aid, they simply cannot carry on with their missions — regardless of the nobility of their goal or the dedication of the staff and volunteers that make it all happen.

The latest example of the threat to representation resulting from a lack of capital can be found in the Stop File Lockers project — an antipiracy initiative targeting file lockers and the stolen adult content that they thrive upon.

With so many observers blaming piracy as a main factor in the ongoing demise of the adult entertainment industry, one might think that there would be widespread support for any program boasting the track record of success that Stop File Lockers has earned by not only pursuing pirates, but the billing companies, hosting providers and other enablers that profit from this trade in stolen goods — but one would be mistaken for thinking so…

On October 1, Stop File Lockers chief “AdultKing” announced that this antipiracy campaign would close due to a lack of industry support. Not the kind of “support” gained from virtual high-fives on a message board, but the kind of real support that stakeholders within the industry could have provided.

According to AdultKing, since the Stop File Lockers project began in June of 2012, it has played a role in the shutting down of hundreds of file lockers and other piracy sites, with more than a thousand Paypal, Pazya, Moneybookers and other third party accounts shut down in addition to the closure of around 100 merchant accounts (and more than 60 more shut down with third party co-operation). Three third party billers lost their ability to accept Paypal, while hundreds of file locker resellers on eBay had their listings of file locker vouchers and memberships terminated, adding to the campaign’s success. Various blogs, forums, image hosts and link sharing sites have also been shuttered by the project.

Despite these tangible successes, the project’s primary sponsor pulled its funding, while promises from other firms never materialized; leaving Stop File Lockers a reported $15,000 in the hole, and needing a new source of financing to continue operating.

“My commitment to the project has never waned, however the harsh reality is that what we did cost money. Resources used included distributed cloud server time for detection and verification systems, legal costs, back end systems, international couriers for paper based evidence, technical services such as programming and scripting of tools, conference call facilities, travel and accommodation for meetings, video conferencing, lease on office space and so on,” AdultKing confided. “Without ongoing financial support it’s impossible for any one person to mount an operation as extensive as the one we were running. As it is we ran on the bare necessities to get the job done and not one single participant in the project (other than professional service providers) was paid. All the collaboration was done by volunteers including myself.”

“The issue basically boils down to flogging a dead horse. The funding has dried up [and] there are expenses that need to be met in order to keep going. Those expenses cannot be met, therefore we close,” AdultKing explained. “There has to come a point at which one asks why they should continue to prop up such a project when the majority of the online adult industry couldn’t care less if there was piracy or not.”

The proclamation was met with a renewed wave of public support, with AdultKing committing another year of his time for free, if a reliable source of funding can be found to the tune of around AUD $10,000 monthly. In the meantime, he covered the immediate costs with a contribution from one of his non-adult businesses, to provide a month long respite during which new sponsors, including small companies with recurring payments, could be obtained.

“I need to make it clear that this project lives and dies by the support it receives,” AdultKing concluded. “So if you want to see us continue then now will be the time to show your support.”

The CopyControl.org site lists a dozen current contributions to the Stop File Lockers campaign, totaling $1,180 to date (not including an undisclosed amount that was given by an anonymous donor) — with half of the listed donations occurring at the $30 level.

None noted a status of “recurring,” so it’s unclear how much ongoing support the effort will receive beyond this first round of renewed funding. It is also important to note that while this latest round of fundraising has been underway since around October 6, that the donation record only lists those contributions received from October 21-24.

If others were made prior to that date, they are not listed.

Those who wish to do so can contribute to the Stop File Lockers project by visiting https://copycontrol.org/contribute or via Paxum at donations@stopfilelockers.com.

Before writing off the request, consider that piracy affects everyone in this business, whether they are content producers and rights owners or not.

“There are people in this industry that are being affected by the outcome of piracy that don’t own websites or own the content that is produced, but are feeling the loss of industry income by not having regular work because profits have declined so far [that] producers are cutting back,” BlackandBlueMedia commented. “Those people include performers, sales people, camera men, makeup artists, publicists, Production Assistants, retailers and location managers among many others. Those people have never made the big bucks that a content producer/owner does, so having a way to help support the fight against piracy that can be worked into their personal budgets is very cool.”

“Beaner” was a bit blunter; noting that if 233 people cannot pay $30/month for the cause of fighting piracy (the amount the initiative needs), then “adult is dead.”

Of course, we could easily substitute “for the cause of protecting children from porn” or “for the cause of protecting free speech,” in the cases of the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP) or the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) respectively — the point remains the same: without your support, the organizations working to help you do business cannot survive; making the long term fate of these valuable institutions the ultimate barometer of the adult entertainment industry’s health and vitality.

Sink or swim, it’s in YOUR hands now…

 

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