A nice pair--of porn companies, that is--is being sued  by the music industry for featuring songs in their XXX-rated clips without permission. The copyright infringement suit was filed at the U.S. District Court in L.A. last week, against RK Netmedia and RealityKings.com. The record labels, who are demanding $150,000 per infringement include Warner Bros., Elektra, and Atlantic.
For their part(s), the porn firms are being pretty relaxed about the lawsuit--and there's no fluffer required. RK Netmedia's attorney claims that the use of the music, from stars such as Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry and Michael Jackson, was a First Amendment issue. The "it's a documentary/reality show" defense is being used: "When you have live footage at a football game, sometimes you're gonna get a shot of someone taking off their clothes and running across the field," said Marc Randazza. "We really don't have control over the environment."
However, it's not as if the online porn industry couldn't afford to shell out. It's a growth market that even today can attract eight-figure sums from venture capital firms . For a closer look, GOOD magazine's video  may be three years old now, but it gives you an idea of the numbers involved--and it is SFW.
The music industry, however, is claiming that the artists' songs are either used as the title or theme of the videos, and "drive the action during the scene." Ain't that always the way, though? I mean, I don't wish to be coarse here, but if you're doing the do and listening to music, the song's rhythm kind of takes over. (If you're listening to some crazy solo by Joe Satriani/Iron Maiden, then I salute you.)
There is some pretty stiff language in the suit. "Defendants not only incorporated plaintiff's works into their videos, but then used them to draw an audience to their website and to advertise and promote their videos, encouraging their performers to lip-synch the lyrics to plaintiff's recordings while engaged in sexual acts on camera."
Oh, purlease. What we really need now is a bunch of adult stars to get medieval on the asses of the creative departments of the record labels and claim--for example--that the moves busted by Major Lazer and chums in the Pon De Floor video are a direct steal from the fifth scene in (insert XXX title of your choice here, it's too early in the morning for me) when (insert XXX star's name of choice here, I don't know any) when said performer and swimming pool attendant **** each others' ****s and then **** until the cows **** home.
The truth is, sex and music have always gone together-and the music industry knows that. Many videos, from awful 80s soft rock bands, via The Prodigy, and through to R&B, have just one thing on their mind--and it sure ain't nuclear fission. Perhaps record execs see the lawsuit as one way of filling the rapidly-emptying coffers that the labels feel are the result that illegal downloads are having on their industry--after all, $150,000 a pop makes for a lot of money indeed. But perhaps they need to think about it in a different way.
I remember interviewing French pop band Air  about a million years ago. They were absolutely horrified by the state of '90s porno music and offered their aural services for free in the hope of bringing a better class of sleazic to adult movies. Thirteen years on it's different, with producers using tracks by the big names and not even turning a rights hair in the process.
Well, why doesn't a forward-thinking, brand-savvy porn firm offer up the score of their latest movie to a big name artist? Someone who immediately springs to mind is Snoop. He's not overly precious about his music, he'd have fun doing a project like that, he'd be delighted to hang out on set, he'd be the envy of his peers. The concept of coaxing sex and music, age-old bedfellows, into trying out a new position is a delicious one.
Just imagine the royalties.