Sexy Xenia Seeburg (think “Lexx“) inadvertently gives her partner a bondage lap dance in the obscure comedy, “Knocking On Heaven’s Door.” Would you have even heard of this movie if it weren‘t for this clip? I wonder how many copies of the movie this clip has sold (if any are available).
An interesting debate has broken out over Brians’ and Pofoz’s discussion page. There are a variety of sites -- Raffishs’s Didclip site (see link list) is one -- where video clips of bondage scenes from movies and TV shows are available. Some, like Raffish, charge a premium for membership. And apparently, some clip website owners are now putting logos on the clips they produce to identify the clips as having been produced by them.
The reason some identify this as piracy is because the clips are all from mainstream TV shows and movies that the website owners did not produce and hence, do not own.
Let me use an analogy to explain my feelings on the matter. Say a farmer owns a big apple orchard, part of which fronts a road used by kids who walk to school along it. Portions of the trees in the orchard hang over the fence that fronts the road, and every year they drop a lot of apples to the ground which mostly just lie there and rot, or get eaten by small animals. The ground is still on the farmer’s property, it just isn’t worth the time and trouble to him to harvest them -- they’re a tiny smidgen of what is in the orchard proper.
The kids who walk to and from school eat the apples, too. Are they stealing? The law is clear: they are stealing, because the apples belong to the farmer. But ethically are they stealing? Of course not: the apples would just rot on the ground if they didn’t eat them. You might make an argument that they are being socially responsible by not letting a food resource go to waste.
Now, take it one step further. Suppose one enterprising kid collects some of the apples in a box as he walks down the road and sells them at a roadside stall. Is he stealing? Yes. Is he being unethical? No. The apples would still go to waste, and he’s hardly doing the farmer any economic harm since his sales are literally nothing compared to the farmer’s sales. In collecting the apples and presenting them conveniently to roadside travelers he is doing them a service, and deserves to be recompensed for his efforts.
I think this is a very apt comparison because the rights to most films and TV shows are owned by large media conglomerates. None of them, to my knowledge, has ever collected a set of bondage clips and marketed it to anyone. I don’t see it happening in the foreseeable future, either -- too many groups would protest the living hell out of it if a mainstream publisher did such a thing. Bondage clips of mainstream movies and TV shows are EXACTLY like the apples on the other side of the fence -- they’re legally the possession of the companies that own them, but the companies have no interest in using them. Therefore, the guys who are collecting them and selling them are not harming the companies in any way. They are doing mainstream bondage fans a service, and deserve to be compensated for their work, even if they don’t own legal copyright to the works.
I think this is why the mainstream companies don’t prosecute the websites that sell/distribute vidclips of bondage scenes. There’s no harm being done to the companies, and perhaps even some good. The clips being distributed almost certainly create interest in and sales of the movies they’re from. All to the good, from the companies’ point of view.
Now, bondage clips from COMMERCIAL bondage videos that are collected and resold would definitely be a different matter. Making vidclips of these and selling them or even just distributing them for free would be not only against the law but unethical -- you would be directly competing with them and harming their business.
However, I have to point out that many commercial bondage filmmakers freely distribute brief clips of their films, as promotional items. This in no way lessens the illegality or unethicalness of making clips and distributing them without the commercial websites’ permission, but it DOES point out the usefulness of widely distributed free clips from a film, from the filmmakers’ perspective.
I frankly think the copyright laws need to be changed -- they have shifted far too much in the direction of the corporations that own copyrights. The present loophole that allows companies to evade the public domain aspects of copyright by trade marking characters in the stories, etc., would be an excellent place to start. Getting the public domain release of copyrighted materials back to reasonable levels would also be a good idea -- just because somebody writes a good book, we don’t owe their descendants a free ride unto the nth generation (Edgar Rice Burroughs descendants, I‘m looking at you!). And some sort of “use it or lose it’ provision would prevent the kind of stupid cock-ups that keeps anyone from making an movies based on “Let’s Go Play at the Adams.”