Fearless Pioneers to Spineless Content Creators

How the old school pornographers kept you free

The pornography industry has metamorphosed from sleazy underground tabloids and movie theaters to socially accepted digital streaming into everyone’s home. While a mostly positive evolution, the adult industry changes have had unintended consequences, leading to a stark contrast between the old-school pornographers of the 1970s and 1980s and their modern-day counterparts. There are great differences between these two eras, most evidenced by a lack of backbone among today’s content creators, in contrast to the freedom of speech advocates of yesteryear.

The Golden Age of Pornography

The 1970s and 1980s are often considered the “Golden Age” of pornography. This era saw the rise of adult film stars like Linda Lovelace, Marilyn Chambers, and John Holmes, who became household names in the world of adult entertainment. During this time, pornography was largely distributed through magazines, VHS tapes, and adult movie theaters. Although the industry faced its fair share of legal challenges and public scrutiny, the pornographers, like Larry Flint were relentless in their pursuit of profit and freedom of speech.

These trailblazers were not afraid to push boundaries and challenge the status quo. They faced numerous obstacles, including censorship laws, obscenity charges, and public outcry, but they persevered in their quest for artistic expression and financial gain. Some even went as far as to create their own distribution networks and payment systems to bypass traditional channels who were often hostile to their work.

Modern Adult Entertainment

Today the adult entertainment industry looks very different. With the rise of the internet and social media platforms, content creators have unprecedented access to a global audience. However, this new era of connectivity has a new set of challenges. Modern content creators must navigate a complex web of big tech regulations, credit card processor rules, and an ever-changing landscape of societal norms and expectations. As a result, many creators have become increasingly risk-averse, opting to play by the ever-changing and ever-increasing rules, rather than challenge them.

Notice the term is content creators and not pornographers, as few old school pornographers remain. The porn industry had always been an exploiter of new technologies. This adoption of new tech had moved porn production from film and theaters, into people’s homes on VHS, and then reduced shipping costs with DVDs. These changes always had an overlapping transitional period that usually took a decade or more to be fully implemented across the industry.

For the pornographer, units sold is the bottom line. If something is trending, make something similar and if something is not selling, remix it into a compilation video. But you NEVER give it away for free. Teaser clips were like box covers, images of scantily clad, but nonetheless clothed performers. They presented just enough to arouse, so that someone would pay to see the hardcore.

However, for the tech guys, traffic is everything, and what better way to get traffic than to give away porn. Before thinking that the free content was a good marketing strategy, as shown by the replacement of pornographers with tech gurus, one must realize that they had an unprecedented advantage.

Not Playing by the Same Rules.

Pornographers had to keep strict records, giving them consent for reproduction and verifying the age of majority of all performers in their videos. Not only that, before the internet, only adults could buy porn. With the Internet, these long standing, universal laws were ignored and porn tube sites popped up everywhere.

The only recourse real pornographers had was to put in a DMCA notice of copyright infringement. DMCA take-downs were useless because as one upload was discovered, another was created, and if one tube site was held liable, several more would take its place. By literally permitting anyone to upload anything, tube sites were able to make money from stolen property. All the while decreasing the value of that property by flooding the market. Ultimately most pornographers, either retired or sold off their holdings to the tech companies that were destroying the traditional market.

In this mess of stolen property available to anyone who “clicked YES to enter”, there was also place for “revenge porn”. These amateur clips were uploaded without the permission of the person/s being featured. Sometimes even without their knowledge of being filmed. It took ten years, for this form of sexual exploitation to be addressed in the legal system. And the laws to prevent it, didn’t come into effect until the tech companies had completely taken over the industry.

Social media is a scam too.

Now that the tech industry has dominion, adult content is being strangled by regulations. Today’s “stars” are expected to do their own production, editing and marketing. In order to drive traffic to their cam shows or adult videos, models and creators are constantly uploading free photos and clips to the social media sites. Adult performers and studios can have huge followings, superior to 100k followers. But the vulgar truth is that 1 follower per 5k to 10k will actually make a purchase. The remaining channel subscribers will get off on the free offerings.

The only winners in this game are the social media platforms, who get the content without having to financially compensate its creators. This is effectively a form of digital enslavement as the workers, (creators) get no compensation for their labors.

To make matters worse, most of the biggest social media sites; Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Google (YouTube) outright forbid uploading porn to their servers. Worse still, just being a porn personality, cam model or too seductive can get your account cut or shadow banned. Imagine having invested money, time and effort into brand marketing, only to find the profile deleted without substantial explanation or recourse. In fact, only Twitter and Reddit tolerate adult themes. But both services are continuously moving towards greater controls with an obvious agenda to either eliminate adult content, or regulate it so strictly, that it can only be found by word of mouth.

The Lack of a Backbone Among Modern Content Creators

One of the most striking contrasts between old-school pornographers and modern content creators is the lack of a backbone among the latter. Whereas the pioneers of the 1970s and 1980s were willing to fight for their right to free speech and artistic expression, many modern creators seem all too willing to submit to the rules imposed by big tech companies and credit card processors.

For Fan / Cam sites, one creator is no different than any other. They deal in numbers, the more models that sign up, the more traffic attained. In the digital world traffic is currency, be that sales, advertising revenues or stock value. Any marketing they do is for their site as a whole, either offering free content to new sign ups, or promising potential riches to models. The reality is that 98% of content creators, can’t even cover their rent. The few who do succeed in earning a substantial living are either lucky or affiliated with someone working for the platform.

Performers do more than fall for this promise of riches. The majority of free content is now coming from cam girls hoping for tokens and tips. They also submit to arbitrary payment processing restrictions. As a result, modern content creators are often left walking a fine line between creating content that appeals to their audience and adhering to the ever-changing rules of their powerful overseers.

Additionally, keeping up with regulations decreases visibility on platforms. Not keeping up, means demonetization of content, and even outright bans. For the user, all content starts to look the same. For the creators, there is no ability to stand out. As creators are forced to censor their content or adapt it to fit within the confines of ever-changing guidelines, there is little room to explore new ideas or push boundaries. This stagnation ultimately leads to a less diverse landscape of adult entertainment. These challenges make it increasingly difficult for content creators to turn a profit, leading some to abandon the industry altogether.

The adult entertainment industry, despite its international reach and relative uniformity, is a shadow of what it was before big tech took over. The few hundred dedicated players, who worked well together and sometimes engaged in cultural exchanges, have been replaced by faceless bankers, and technical oligarchs directing the behavior of thousands of content providers and millions of punters. The spineless content creators must find ways to reclaim their autonomy. They must fight for their right to free speech and artistic expression. Only then can they hope to recapture the spirit of the Golden Age of Pornography and push the industry forward into a new era of creativity and growth.

Hamilton Steele (aka. Rebel Cipriani) Follow on X

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Fearless Pioneers to Spineless Content Creators

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