Tuesday, July 10, 2007

YouPorn and PornTube. Really.

There is an article over on Alternet about the rise of YouPorn and PornTube and websites which offer "free porn" submitted by other users. Unsurprisingly it turns out that not necessarily every woman featured on the websites (a) knows they're being filmed and (b) has consented to that film being made publically available. Now this smells (stinks) a bit like it has the Girls Gone Wild fiasco, which I have expressed my views on. I took a very deep breath and did the most upsetting piece of research I've done in ages and took a look at what is being shown. Firstly I note that while YouPorn asks you to confirm you are over 18 (like 12 year olds don't know how to click a button), PornTube doesn't even ask that - it immediately shows you hardcore pornographic images, like close-ups of anal sex. But the videos themselves - and there are an awful lot of them - include the following:

1) Women who work in lap dancing and strip clubs - putting paid to the idea that these places aren't in many cases, actually brothels.

2) Women who are working as prostitutes.

3) Women who appear to be under age and who are listed as "teen" and "virgin".

4) Women who are way too drunk to have given any kind of meaningful consent.

5) Women who are unaware they are being filmed.

6) Women who are unaware that the film is going to be posted on the internet, i.e. who believe they are "performing" privately.

7) Women who appear distressed and in pain, even women who are actually crying, but are being physically forced to continue with what they are doing.

Now I don't understand how it can be legal to publish pornography without the consent of everybody featured in it. Surely that is obvious. And just because a person has consented to engage in a sexual activity doesn't mean they have consented to have that activity recorded and published. Consent has to happen separately for every element of sexual activity. And consent can be withdrawn too. Consent is not a matter of a one-off nod that then holds for any and every activity you might possibly consider sexual over an indefinite period of time.

So we need a new law (or is there an existing one that would fit the bill? lawyers out there?) that says it is incumbent on the publisher of the pornography to confirm that all parties involved have given full consent for it's publication.

But also we have existing laws about sexual assault, prostitution, lap dancing clubs, under-age sex and rape. We need to apply them. Some of the material on these sites is in fact video footage of a very serious crime taking place. Shouldn't someone be addressing that?

6 comments:

Alankrita said...

I cringe at the burden of being female...

Anna said...

Oh, my. I'm at a loss for words, though sadly, I am not as surprised as I am sickened. Such a big world, so little respect for women.

Truth said...

Read your article and it doesn't seem to be very accurate. When I visited YouPorn.com, I was greeted with an age consent form (what else are they supposed to do besides read your mind?). Also, it would be nice if you could post links to the videos you found offensive, because I couldn't find nearly all 7 of the points you mentioned on YouPorn.com. Of course, I was only on there for 20 minutes or so. What I saw was mainly sex in its many forms. Blowjobs, handjobs, masturbation, sex... I didn't see any videos of underage girls, women crying or in pain, prostitutes...

Cruella said...

They may well have added an age consent pop-up since I visited. I am hardly going to visit again. I found all the things I listed on the first few pages. I am not going to post links - that would only encourage people to access these sites.

Demexii said...

1) They do not need to ask for age verification as that law was shot down by the courts.
2) There are laws on what you can do with video and sex. You are not allowed to video tape someone having sex without their knowledge. There is a reasonable expectation of privacy. This goes for many other things too (like bugging phones). You also are not allowed to distribute that material without their knowledge.
3) They operate based on Safe Harbor laws. I would guess that most of the content on there is probably illegal. It is either posted without the other parties knowledge or posted from copyrighted material. However, as long as the site responses to requests to remove material from legal parties they are not held liable for what goes on the site.

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