CYBERSPACE—Porn was not the innovator of content sharing services like Pinterest, which last month became the world's third most visited social network, but it's been doing its damndest to make up for it. A veritable clonefest of Pinterest-styled porn sites have sprung up in the last several months, with the infamous Sex.com the latest example. Porn, as the saying goes, just wants to be free.
Of course, if there is a way to keep it free and still monetize the service, porn will find a way ... maybe. The pornosphere could just as easily milk the porn Pinterest teat dry with an efficiency that would make Wall Street green with envy.
In fact, the clones are off and running ... out of steam. Sex.com just ... uh, reinvented itself, thanks to PinPorn.com, its doppelganger in every aspect including sharing the same DMCA agent. In other words, Sex.com is just a white label of PinPorn.com, which is fine but nothing to snort coke over. It actually exposes the continuing lack of ingenuity that has dogged Sex.com ever since Gary Kremen first launched it back in 1994. Currently, an entity called Clover Holdings is the ostensible owner. Uh-huh.
In addition to the aforementioned sites, there are currently several versions of Pinterest for porn vying for viewers’ attention, including Snatchly, Pornterest, Pin Club and a new one reportedly designed for women called Sinterest. Though, considering that there is also a cheap clone script available for around $300 called Pinnect, there are likely a lot more of these sites out there than the few we have mentioned, with even more coming down the pike.
Needless to say, for an industry that has been brought to its knees by copyright infringement over the past several years, the newest technology making the stealing ... er, sharing ... er, pinning of content as easy as 1-2-3—or even 1-2—these sites would seem to present yet another impediment for those who want to control the dissemination of their precious productions. To at least address the issue, some of the sites have begun including a link to the location where the pinned content was ... opined?
"Once installed in your web browser, the 'Pin It' button lets you take an image from any website and 'pin' it to one of your pinboards," reads the How It Works page on Sex.com and PinPorn.com. "When you pin an image from any site, we automatically include the source link to credit its original creator."
Yes, and no. The software records the link from where the image or video was taken, but it does not necessarily credit the original creator. It took only a few minutes following some of the links to see that some of them originate from virtually anyplace, including inside members areas of porn sites, from Google Images and from Tumblr. They could, of course, just as easily originate from personal blogs or any anonymous site, making the claim to credit the original owner a bit of a stretch.
The idea to provide an attributing link to the "original" source has also just been integrated into Pinterest because of escalating complaints about copyright infringement, but with some very neat additional features that may well be copied by porn sharing sites.
As TechCrunch noted Tuesday, "Flickr, which just debuted a new HTML5 photo uploader last week, is announcing a partnership with Pinterest to add Pin It buttons to sharing options on the photo sharing platform. Flickr also assures that all pinned images will be properly attributed, regardless where they are pinned from."
What this means is that even if a person has embedded a Flickr photo on their own website or blog, or someone else's, and pins it from there, "the photo will automatically be attributed on Pinterest and linked back to the Flickr photo page."
It still doesn't mean they have the legal right to pin the photo, but at least the original source has been credited and a trail of sorts has been established to discourage infringing activity.
Of course, these sites also inhabit a digital netherworld that forces them to promote the sharing of "free content" while simultaneously preaching the gospel of copyright. It's a strange balancing act that defies a certain logic.
"Sex.com allows you to gather, organize and share all the free porn you find on the web," reads promo text on the Sex.com site. "People create pinboards to bookmark all their favorite porn videos & pictures. With just one click, you can pin porn from anywhere on the web and add it to one of your pinboards."
Elsewhere, however, in the terms and conditions, it states, "You affirm, represent and/or warrant that you own or retain the necessary licenses, rights, consents, and permissions to use and authorize Sex.com to use all trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, patents, or other proprietary rights in and to any and all Member Content to enable inclusion and use of the Member Content in the manner contemplated by the Site and these Terms."
People who pin also have to agree that they "will not post, or allow anyone else to post, any Member Content that depicts any person under the age of 18 years, and that [they] have inspected and are maintaining written documentation sufficient to confirm that all subjects are, in fact, over the age of 18 years."
That refers, of course, to 2257 documentation, which the site says is the responsibility of "the site for which the content was produced."
Needless to say, the idea that anyone pinning a photo from Tumblr has a clue about, much less inspected, the IDs of the people in the photos is absurd. It is going to be interesting indeed to see where all of this leads.
But, hey, all in the spirit of sharing, right? Or, as it says on Sex.com (and PinPorn.com), the goal is to "create a better free porn world by linking people across the world through the porn they love."
Makes you want to cry.