Cam Performers: Protecting Your Content

With the rise of camsites, there has been an explosion of the number of models whom only perform on camera from the privacy of their homes and bedrooms. Many are brand new to the adult industry and fail to realize there are certain issues that most mainstream producers have become, unfortunately, accustomed to; piracy.

I am often asked by new cam performers what can be done to protect their content and live shows from being pirated and then uploaded to various pirate sites and tubes. Often, not only does this lead to a decline in revenue for the performer, but also to a lack of privacy. Models on camsites can and do often block certain geographic regions so as not to be discovered for their performances. The pirating of their shows and content completely places them into a position of vulnerability.

But just like any other producer, a cam performer must understand the need to protect their content, possibly, even more so. The first mode of defense is to register their content with the US Copyright Office ( US Copyright Office ). Through the registration process, they can then be assured that their content is protected with the same force and effect as any mainstream movie. However, for the content owner to be assured of the possibility of being award statutory damages and attorney’s fees for any infringement, that registration must occur within the first 90 days of the date of public broadcast of the show or content. Failure to register within that time frames means that the content producer / model will need to prove actual damages and will not need be able to recover attorney’s fees. Proving actual damages in trial is almost impossible and would require that an expert witness in copyright damages be retained to testify – usually at a cost of $10,000 to $15,000. The expert fees alone usually are more than the potential damages to the model. Basically, without registering your content, you have no copyright infringement lawsuit.

However, even more important that using copyright law to protect your work, I suggest using trademark law. The Lanham Act is far more stringent on repeat pirates than copyright law. Every cam performer should trademark their stage name as well as the watermark that they use on their content. If some pirate removes your watermark from your video when they upload it that is called reverse palming off;

reverse palming off:

the wrongful misappropriation of another’s goods or services by removing the correct name or trademark and selling or offering the goods under a different name

This is no different that if someone removed the Nike “Swoosh” from the side of their sneakers, placed their own name on them and tried to sell them as “Bob’s Greatest Sneakers.” Bob didn’t make those sneakers so he is trying to pass off Nike’s goods as his own.

This is what usually occurs in the pirating of video content. Most pirates do not realize that removing a trademarked watermark is actual trademark infringement and a violation of the Lanham Act. The other benefit of using trademark law to protect your content is that unlike copyright law, there is no safe harbor for the pirates. Once a tubesite, credit card processor and/or webhost is placed on notice of the trademark infringement through a cease and desist letter, they must act to remove the infringing content. Failure to act means that an innocent trademark infringement claim can quickly become a willful infringement trademark claim.

For more information on trademarks you can read other articles I have written;

Piracy and Trademark Law: A Way Stop to Content Theft

Porn 101: Should I Trademark My Name ?

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