XBIZ recently sat down with PAK Group co-founder Jason Tucker, who is also president of the content production company Falcon Foto, to discuss content piracy and the PAK Group's strategy to take on the pirates.
XBIZ: Tell us a little about the PAK Group, and your take on the current state of adult content piracy.
Tucker: Piracy is not a new issue, however it appears to be occurring at a faster rate then ever. The PAK Group is an intellectual property enforcement company that is representing the industry in a front-line fight against piracy. We have other names as well, you know us as Falcon Foto, Shane's World, Antigua Pictures, VCX, Cal Vista, Grooby, Teravision and Kink, to name a few.
XBIZ: How did you originally decide to take an aggressive posture with respect to content piracy? Was this born of Falcon Foto's content being stolen or otherwise misappropriated? In other words, what initially put the piracy bee in your bonnet, so to speak?
Tucker: Falcon Foto and piracy are almost tantamount. Falcon filed and won its first copyright infringement lawsuit in 2000. In a new millennium and almost a decade later, the use of stolen content had become so pervasive that I couldn't surf the adult Internet without running into stolen copies of our images. Not only did this really put a damper on my late-night porn surfing, but it upset me to no end. Instead of enjoying adult entertainment, I started using those late-night hours to document thieves. In the last two years, as we have become more public with our efforts, others started coming to me and sharing their own issues and frustration with theft. By late 2007, when Airek from Shane's World set up a gathering of content producers, it had just become obvious that something coordinated and large in scale had to be done to deal with this issue in a swift and decisive manner. With that understanding, a group of us got together and formed the PAK Group.
XBIZ: Let's hear a little about the software and technology employed by the PAK Group, and how it goes about documenting possible infringement. It sounds like a pretty cool tool.
Tucker: Our lead attorney Rob Apgood once told me that he is a better programmer then he is an attorney. Having conceived what we have with our case-tracker software, and with his ability to program, I tend to believe he was serious. Without giving up too much, we have developed software that spiders websites, only grabbing the content we tell it to find. Once it finds the content, it documents everything that a lawyer needs to prove that the thief was in fact using stolen content. Pretty neat, huh? Again, once I see how much is out there, I just get more and more upset, but it reaffirms my unyielding desire to annihilate large thieves and to scatter the little ones.
XBIZ: How would you characterize the industry's response to the establishment of PAK? Has there been a flurry of studios signing on, or do you think there's more of a wait-and-see posture being adopted?
Tucker: The days of wait and see are long gone. Ross Perot said, "Time is not our friend." Now, you may not agree with the man on politics, but this quote makes sense. The industry has embraced the PAK Group and what it represents. Remember that PAK has been assembled by the industry for the industry, and is run by members who are active in the industry. We are tying to keep up with the amount of producers that want to get onboard. We are scaling operations to allow us to collectively pursue the vast amount of claims that exist. We are also being encouraged and have found a good relationship with the Australia-based Adult Industry Copyright Organisation (AICO), Global Anti-Piracy Agency (GAPA) and Free Speech Coalition.
XBIZ: Does PAK Group have any litigation already in motion, or immediate plans to file any actions? If so, can you shed some light on those plans?
Tucker: We are close to filing a suit against a major tube site, and we will follow that up with a lot more. No one is immune. The big problem I see right now is not outsiders doing this; rather, it is people who purport to be contributing members in our industry. As a result, we know who is doing this, we know where they are, we know where they process transactions, we know where they bank, we know where they host and we know where they live. This means when we come for you, we know how to get you. To the thieves that laugh about this, remember that we are coordinated. We are your affiliates, we are the guys you sit next to at industry dinners and the people that bump your posts on boards. Hiding is hard to do when we know what you look like, bro.
XBIZ: Some have suggested that an effective technique might be to go after individuals who are posting stolen content to tubes, sharing content via P2P and [engaging in] other end-user behaviors along those lines. Does the PAK Group intend to go this route? If so, are you at all concerned that this approach could be seen as anti-consumer, or that it might ostracize more legitimate users than it would discourage would-be pirates?
Tucker: Going after end users is a strategy that would require ridiculous amounts of resources and probably would not accomplish a lot. Again, I don't currently see the problem with the end users as much as I do companies creating locations where the exploitation of stolen works is encouraged. We need to pick our battles, and right now it is with the locations where this is going on. Eventually we can educate surfers. There are viable business models within communities that allow users to share content. But basic rules must be adhered to, and self policing is a must. MySpace and YouTube have cleaned up their act, so it can be done.
XBIZ: How about targeting those that advertise on infringing websites, in particular those that do not honor take-down requests: Is that approach a possibility, as well?
Tucker: It's not a possibility, it's an absolute guarantee. The PAK board has made it clear that they want to go after those who contribute to the behavior, and so it shall be.
XBIZ: What is PAK Group's strategy for tackling infringers who don't have a presence in the U.S.? Is there some way to make them answerable in U.S. courts, anyway? Beyond taking direct legal action against such foreign infringers, what other techniques might PAK Group employ against them?
Tucker: There are very few infringers who do not have a U.S. presence. We have strategies for reaching those who are outside of the U.S. This isn't just about lawsuits; this is about a message and an understanding. If you steal, we will come for you, and if you get contacted by us, it is in your best interest to settle, because we will not stop fighting. The more you fight, the harder we will gear up to fight you, and the longer we fight, the more it will cost you in the end.