Free porn is unethical

Illegal activity embedded within the porn industry

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Back to Article

Free porn is unethical

Illustration by Alex Torres/The Runner

Illustration by Alex Torres/The Runner

Illustration by Alex Torres/The Runner

Chelsea L. McDowell & Allie M. Page, Special to The Runner

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While it seems like an outdated concept, paying for porn has a multitude of benefits that seem to have been forgotten in this digital age. People should pay for their pornography instead of turning to free video-sharing sites for their personal enjoyment.

Free porn isn’t free – it’s often stolen or pirated from legitimate sites or subscription services. People upload these copyrighted videos to porn sites more easily than they could to YouTube, and the actors and producers won’t see a single cent for their labor.

Paying for porn benefits everyone involved, especially the porn actors who invest their own money to get started and maintain their businesses.

At the end of the day, the only people who win from free porn are the tech companies running the websites. They amass ad revenue while leaving the actors and producers with little or nothing. According to Slate, one multimillion-dollar company called MindGeek owns eight of the top ten porn sites. When content is uploaded illegally, the companies have everything to gain and nothing to lose. They continue to infringe upon the performers’ right of publicity to sustain their imperial rule on the adult film industry.

Paying for porn also guarantees quality – you’re less likely to be exposed to content you don’t like, and you won’t be wasting your time finding the perfect video during your time alone. There is a plethora of paid porn sites catering to almost every interest imaginable, and you are also more likely to re-watch the video and appreciate the nuances you missed during your first time watching. Pay-for-view adult films can be as long as an hour, giving you plenty of “material.”

Some would argue that the porn industry is already unethical as it is, so free porn isn’t necessarily worse. However, the adult film industry provides jobs and steady income for those involved, and it enables self-expression. Plus, it’s one of the few industries where women make more than men, and where LGBT people are a staple. Free porn hampers this. It devalues the actors’ craft. It tells them that their hard work and personal image isn’t their own.

These sites also further enable the distribution of child pornography. According to the Miami Herald, a man uploaded 58 videos of a 15-year-old girl to the site Pornhub, owned by MindGeek, as well as Snapchat, Periscope, and Modelhub. The videos stayed on the site, and while they were used to track the perpetrator, there was no age verification or accountability when uploading, unlike traditional porn production companies. The people you see in porn could easily be your child or younger sibling.

These sites are the wild wild west of the internet, where corporations don’t care about the ethics as long as they get ad revenue. Free porn sites are an ethical nightmare that is better left in the past with lobotomies and asbestos.

If people can, they should pay for porn. Free porn comes at the cost of lining the pockets of greedy capitalists by exploiting adult performers and running the risk of encountering trafficked child porn.