May 15, 2006

Free porn, but not xxx

by Brian Turner

Computers & Internet

While Hollywood remains frightened of the internet, and especially in allowing film downloads, the porn industry has decided – as ever – to innovate here.

Adult film distribution company, Vivid Entertainment, has struck a deal to sell it’s catalogue of X-rated films through CinemaNow.

Not only will this allow users to download their favourite sexy moments – but it will also allow consumers to record the films to DVD, and play them back on any playback system of their choice.

The move boldly pushes past Hollywood fears that allowing downloads and copying will create mass access to pirated material.

Few larger corporations will yet dare take that risk of allowing DVD sales and on-demand downloads, though Disney CEO Robert Iger has been known to be pushing the issue there.

On-demand video access has already catapulted video sharing site YouTube to stardom among people who simply want TV access online now, though it has yet to properly grapple copyright concerns about material uploaded to the site.

Although the practical implications of Vivid’s move have yet to be seen, it has been widely supported as a step in the right direction for IPTV access across all movie industries.

Meanwhile, last week, ICANN finally voted against plans for a .xxx domain name suffix – after 6 years of wrangling.

Many argued that this was a politically influenced decision, as US politicians shirked against the idea of legitimising porn on the internet.

However, others within the industry saw it as simply a way to corral adult sites more easily for future regulation.

The main proponent of the .xxx domain extension, ICM Registry, would have profited extensively had the domain name extension gone live.

And while the possible benefits of using such a domain naming system remain moot, it has created unease that US political influence has likely had undue effect on the process of international internet governance.

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