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Is it worth it to stream your porn?

Pornography has never been more easily available. According to research performed at the University of California, more than one million pornographic websites exist on the Internet, with the possibility of about 10,000 added every week. The increase in availability and the development of technology has led to the creation of thousands of pirating and free streaming websites.

Maude Morin, a third-year student at the University of Ottawa, sees the advantages of streaming sites for people in the porn industry.

“Streaming sites give those who don’t have the means for a professional studio an ‘in’ in the industry,” she said.

The ease with which someone can set up a website can help those performers who are new to the industry avoid the trouble of dealing with production companies who might otherwise take advantage of them.

Michael Strangelove, a communications professor at the U of O, says pirating and free streaming can lead to a higher income for the producers and production companies, but often puts the performers at risk of being harassed by the “creeps” they work with.

Similar to pirating your favourite artist’s latest album, streaming or pirating porn causes professional performers and production companies to lose money.

Vivid Entertainment is one of the largest studios in the porn industry. In an interview with NBC, Steven Hirsch, founder of Vivid Entertainment, said there has been an 80 per cent reduction in porn DVD sales over the past five years.

It may not mean much to the viewer if performers and production companies lose out on sales, but there are major consequences to porn stars trying to make a living. SexInfo Online, a website authored through the University of California, states that the drop in profit for actors is causing the industry to become increasingly competitive. This competition means more drastic, intense, and vulgar performances for much lower wages.

According to Stoya, an adult film actress and writer, when porn is paid for, working conditions for the actors and crew are improved. In an article she wrote for Vice, in which she refers to Big Porn, the company behind most streaming and pirating sites, she discussed the workers’ rights that have been disregarded because of this free and accessible porn.

“Aside from all of the involvement with piracy and the arrest of the apparent owner on allegations of tax evasion, (Big Porn) has begun taking on unpaid interns to replace the steady stream of workers who have been driven away by poor treatment,” she wrote. “Their corporate structure is opaque. Executive level employees issue instructions and then reprimand lower level workers for following them. The lack of respect with which they treat their crew and staff has begun to show in the lowered product quality, and Big Porn fails to see that the common denominator is, well, them.”

Finally, there comes the issue of quality. Mom-and-Pop production companies that are behind many of the porn DVDs in sex shops and the purchasable porn on the Internet generally use higher-quality materials to produce their films, resulting in a more visually appealing product for the viewer.

“There is a quality that comes with industry,” said Morin. “Buying a DVD gives you better quality than streaming.”

Though it’s tempting to get your porn fix on a tube site, paying for visual pleasure ensures better quality films and safety for both the actors and the crew. The porn industry is no different than the music or Hollywood movie industry. You are provided with entertainment, and people who create the films are trying to make a living just like everyone else.