Porn tubes fight SOPA

Elyana Barrera

Editor’s note: This article is the first installment in a weekly sex and sexuality column.

You get home from a long day of work. You’re tired, tense and you just want to relax and watch some free porn on the Internet. If you’re feeling fancy, maybe you’ll pop open a bottle of wine before you “pop one off.” You get to your favorite website and just as you’re about to slip into something more comfortable, you discover that your beloved free website has been taken down.

This is the nightmare that prompted many to contact their representatives on Jan. 18 and do their part in stifling the anti-piracy bill Stop Online Piracy Act and save free online porn, for now.

Internet favorites like Wikipedia, Reddit and Google have been noted for their “blackouts,” protesting against anti-piracy bills SOPA and Protect IP Act. However, a topic less discussed in the news is how these types of laws could affect free pornography websites.

According to Forbes, the most visited online porn video websites are “tube” websites such as YouPorn, which offers a sexy 61 categories ranging from the mild “instructional” to the wild “fetish.” Porn tubes work essentially like YouTube: They provide streaming content and rely on user-generated uploads. Often these uploaded videos will contain copyrighted content, which would put the entire website at risk of being shut down and blacklisted if SOPA were to become a law.

Like many other websites on Jan. 18, PornHub, Tube8, SpankWire and YouPorn all had black banners over their logos linking visitors to information on SOPA and how to help stop it. XVideos and XNXX went the extra mile and blacked out their home pages with only an announcement of how anti-piracy laws would create an “American Internet blacklist.”

Because of the bad reputation that comes with any type of pornography, one possible concern is that having porn websites involved in the anti-SOPA movement would do more harm than good.

“The fact that the support is coming from porn sites shouldn’t hinder [their efforts], but it definitely might,” said Emily Bordages, advertising junior.

However, porn site blackouts were just one part a much larger effort.

“I don’t think it’s a single effort, it’s not just porn sites,” said Kristen Luedtke, biochemistry senior. “The most [protesting] could do would be, I think, to encourage more protesters. And it’s ultimately up to the politicians as to whether they want to pay attention and listen to what the community is saying.”

Essentially, if SOPA was passed, many college-aged adults would be caught in sticky situations, to say the least. Students would have to resort to non-copyrighted amateur material, or worse, actually having to pay for pornographic content. And on a college student’s budget, paying money for content seems unlikely, pornographic or not.

“I don’t think college students would pay for it unless the price was really cheap,” said Luke Oetting, sociology junior.

Although the vote on the anti-piracy bill was halted on Friday, there are still other ways that porn “tubes” could be taken down — after all, conservative groups are always working on ways to censor or eliminate pornography. Just because SOPA was stopped this time around doesn’t mean these websites will be around forever, especially since they are technically using copyrighted content. Once a more “friendly” SOPA 2.0 makes an appearance, it’s likely these websites will get shut down or die out from lack of content.

Until then, feel free to kick off your shoes and take advantage of all the free threesome, BDSM and granny porn you can handle — before it’s too late.

Printed on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 as: Anti-piracy laws could apply to free online porn