Porn producers claim music they used was “fair use”

Eleven music labels, including industry giant Warner Bros, have filed a joint copyright infringement lawsuit against porn purveyors RK Netmedia and RealityKings.com. The suit alleges that RK Netmedia has used unlicensed music in “hundreds of extreme hardcore pornographic videos”.

RK Media has responded to the suit brought against them, claiming that the music in their reality-style adult films falls under “fair use” guidelines, and that they’ve done nothing wrong.

Porn producers claim music they used was "fair use"

Reality Kings hires “adult” actors to go to nightclubs where they are filmed engaging in unscripted sexual acts. Some of the videos show the actors lip syncing and acting out the theme of the song playing in the club. Music from popular artists including Michael Jackson, Katy Perry and Justin Timberlake can be heard in the films.

A passage from the music labels’ complaint claims that, “Defendants simply stole these sound recordings and musical compositions, synchronizing Plaintiffs’ works more than 500 times into the soundtrack of their pornographic videos without license or consent from Plaintiffs, apparently hoping that their conduct would go unnoticed.”

RK Netmedia attorney Marc Randazza defends his clients’ fair use stance, explaining that the songs are simply background music in the clubs. “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,” Randazza said. “We really don’t have control over the environment.”

If the courts rule in favor of the music labels, RK Netmedia could be required to pay millions of dollars in damages. Labels are asking for $150,000 per alleged violation.

While I can understand the music industry’s quest to protect artists and copyrights, I can’t help but think that greed is driving them to take actions like this more than any of the ethical reasons they cite. On the other hand, if it’s true that companies like Reality Kings are making millions of dollars in subscriptions and video licensing fees, I believe the artists deserve a cut. This is a business, and not just ordinary people posting their videos on YouTube, or XTube in this case. Whatever the court decides will certainly set an important legal precedence.