Will Sony's Apparent Anti-Porn Stance Doom Blu-Ray?

from the there'll-be-none-of-that-on-my-discs dept

The ridiculous fight over next-generation DVD formats rolls on, with companies trying to push dual-mode solutions that merely skirt around the issue, rather than resolving it. We’d sort of assumed in the past that whichever format the porn industry decided to support would emerge victorious, but studios said a little while back they weren’t picking a side yet. However, it now looks like that decision’s being made for them, as apparently Sony won’t allow Blu-ray to be used for porn (via Techmeme). A porn director says that he’d wanted to use Blu-ray, but couldn’t find a disc manufacturer willing to work with his company, apparently because they were afraid Sony would revoke their Blu-ray licenses because it doesn’t want the format used for porn. If the story’s true, it seems a bit short-sighted of Sony to close itself off from porn, given that industry’s historical strength in supporting new technologies, and could tip things in favor of HD DVD. Of course, at the end of the day, both formats leave plenty to be desired. Update: Another story finds some other porn producers who prefer HD DVD for a number of other reasons as well.


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Comments on “Will Sony's Apparent Anti-Porn Stance Doom Blu-Ray?”

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44 Comments
Honest Liar says:

Re: Talk about 2 faced

Good point. Its hard for big name companies to stand up for EVERYTHING. If they did, they’d be out of business. Mainstream movies and music glorifying violence and sex make up quite a bit of Sony’s revenue. Perhaps supporting PORN was just “too far” for Sony. (Though the word “hypocracy” does seem to be too relevant for comfort in this case). Plus, Sony doesn’t NEED the PORN industry to stay in business. Sony has music, other electronics and such to make it. So i can see why they would be able to take a stand against allowing porn to use their new Blu-Ray format.

Tyshaun says:

The lesson to be learned...

I was at a seminar a few years back and the speaker said something very interesting:

“If you wan’t to know what caused the internet to proliferate as fast as it has or who are the early adopters of most new technologies, look no further than the porn industry.”

After thinking about it a bit, the guy was spot on. The porn industry (for better or worse) have really been the driving force by pushing the boundaries of internet capacity and capability, and also latching on to a lot of technologies very early in the game. Why, as a business person, would you even consider alienating a community like this?

Also, does Sony plan on censoring all the Blue Ray DVDs that can come out because if so, they aren’t going to have many disks out there!

Jeff (user link) says:

Re: The lesson to be learned...

Tyshaun you are obviously a very intelligent and well informed person who speaks the truth as they understand it. I’m glad their are young people like you seeking the truth, it makes me feel good. I must differ with you on one point however. Pornography does not drive new technology.

Technology is driven by clever people like you, with wonderful imaginations, and by people who believe they can do the impossible. We dont need pornography to drive anything. In fact Im thoroughly convinced we can all get along very well, even better without it. I dont know if SONY is acting on that, but whatever they are acting on, I am certain it shall benefit us all now and in the long run.

Tyshaun says:

Re: Re: The lesson to be learned...

Jeff,

Thanks for the compliment. As it was said already I wasn’t endorsing pornography as a medium, just it’s impact on the progress of technology. As an aside I find the proliferation of porn a bit scary at times and wonder how so many different porn sources can be profitable. I try not to be a hypocrite, and I believe everyones decision to partake or not in pornographic media is their own. Given the revenue and the ubiquitous nature of porn I would say plenty of people have chosen to partake.

John Duncan Yoyo says:

Re: Re: The lesson to be learned...

The problem here is the porn industry represents the wheel barrows full of cash to fund the development and prolifferate the players. Yeah the money could come from other sources but will it.

SONY seems to have tried for another source of early adopters- gamers by including a BLU-RAY in the PS3. If they pull it off so much the better.

If I understood what I heard on Security Now correctly SONY can retroactively disable liscences on both players and disks. If they really want to stop porn and cheese off users they can.

Frank says:

Re: Re: Re: The lesson to be learned...

Porn will not have the impact on this format war that it had int the past. The internet has given people lots of access to all the stuff they want. There’s no need to run out and buy an hd-dvd player to get some porn. Thus people will be far more inclined to buy a high def player where they’ll be able to watch movies- and that is blu-ray with far more studio support.

EdB (user link) says:

Re: Re: The lesson to be learned...

um… follow the money. The adult industry (aka porn) doesn’t develop anything technological, but they sure do sell a lot of high tech stuff. First it was video tapes, then dvds, and now it’ll be hd dvds. The customers who want their products will buy the devices required to access those products, thus putting money into the technology.

Rose says:

History Repeating

I’m always a little astonished at so-called savvy business people making decisions like this without considering the financial impact “down the road.”

I’m beginning to think that these arbitrary decisions are set up just so the corporations can sue people, thereby winning big profits. Perhaps that’s a good way of adding to the bottom line!

Come to think of it the RIAA is doing the same… Hm.

JIM says:

I would disagree with Jeff because of the history of the VHS/Betamax. Because VHS was cheaper it became the standard of the porn industry’s home video releases and considering how the amount of money the porn industry made dramatically increased because of this I would say Porn does have an effect. There are of course multiple factors but I would put money that lonely horny men with cash to spend will go for the product that lets them watch their favorite pornstar over then one that doesn’t.

In the end its all about money and what people will pay for. If people by HD DVD because it has porn and its cheaper even if Blue-Ray is better, HD DVD will be the format that will survive. The Market will determine this because there are two things people want low cost and sex.

Rick says:

This is only clouding the issue.....

It sounds like the industries are forcing people to choose sides in the next-gen DVD format war. Please don’t ‘get behind’ one just because you support porn or not. The real problem here is neither format is all that great for the consumer, you know, the people buying and using the products. I’ll be staying with DVD’s for the foreseeable future.

Mark says:

Blu-Ray and porn

Honestly, is Sony trying to fail? With enemies like that, Microsoft has no need of friends.

It’s really a pretty simple equation:

– Sony is pushing a new, expensive game console that includes a Blu-Ray drive.
– Sony is counting on Japanese gamers to buy the PS3 in droves. If this doesn’t happen, the PS3 fails.
– Japanese game enthusiasts — also known as otaku — are infamously fond of sexually explicit material.
– Ergo, Blu-Ray and porn go together like sushi and wasabi.

When did Sony become filled with idiots? That used to be a pretty smart, savvy company.

misanthropic humanist says:

control of production

Let’s move this debate on from pornography, because I don’t think it is the issue. Sony are victimising this sector because it has a high emotional appeal, but this is really about control of the means of production.

In the mid 1990s it was impossible to find a volume fabrication plant in the UK who would press discs from non PRS/MCPS members. They had no legal capacity or justification whatsoever to do this, but despite that they formed a closed shop with excessive barriers to the small producer. Ostensibly this was chalked up as “anti-piracy” measures. But even if you clearly owned the rights to the material and were prepared to sign an affidavit declaring your ownership that was not enough, they basically bullied you into joining their protection racket.

In the end I found that it was only possible to get the services needed by going to Eastern Europe where the Hungarians or Czechs could offer you business, and then filling out lots of paperwork to make sure one didn’t get highly taxed on your own product.

If you are an independent movie or music maker do you think that you can just walk into a DVD manufacturing company with your masters and cover artwork and order 100,000 copies? No way. The disc manufacture business is sewn up tight by the same old monopolistic consortiums.

This is one of the hidden and least discussed reasons behind the demise of the CD and the migration to online distribution. Smaller producers have been denied the right to access the raw physical media.

scate says:

Porn may just be an "indicator species"

While much has been made of the idea that porn drives technology the actual situation may be more nuanced and people may be confusing correlation with causation.

Pornography producers are often early adopters and the same market forces and economics that lead them to use certain technologies may also ring true for later adopters. So, it could well be the case that the technology porn producer’s use is chosen for sound reasons and those reasons are borne out by the rest of the market.

Nick D (profile) says:

scate's go it

To expand on scate’s riff, while public, big name media companies are not willing to take risks with new media models and are more likely to “wait and see,” in think porn producers are more likely to take risks with new media ventures, and have a more entrepreneurial sprint than established media. And since fewer companies are involved in any one piece of porn product, there are not as many roadblocks as there are with big media.

ehrichweiss says:

the main question is why do we even care?

I’m guessing that no one remembers that in another few months there is going to be a drive released that uses removable media ranging from 300gb to 1.3TB in size. You’ll then be able to store a library of video on one disk and that’s how you’ll likely buy it in the future, as a library, not a single movie and that’s assuming that we decide to stick with physical media for movies; I suspect we’ll abandon our televisions in a very few years and start using our computers as our media centers.

So who cares…that proprietary crap isn’t going to survive in a world where everything can be made available to us for almost free.

ScytheNoire (profile) says:

screw SONY

i’ve hated Sony for a long time, but i love how they keep screwing up more and more. they are truly their own greatest enemy. hopefully they’ll go out of business soon.

just in name alone, HD-DVD makes more sense than Blu-Ray, which is a lame name. but i think Sony will make sure that Blu-Ray fails.

as for media, my computer is already the center of all my media, for television, movies, music, etc. of course, i still output content to televisions, but it’s more about the internet being my preferred method of content delivery over any other form. screw other forms of delivery, the internet is king for media content, you can get it all there.

now i just need faster broadband to start getting live streaming HD content and i’ll be all set.

Mark Tibbert says:

Another whiff of gunsmoke and sore feet for Sony

What are Sony playing at? did they learn NOTHING from their defeat with Betamax?

VHS, tecnically an inferior product won the day rather than the better specification product – why? Simple, that was the format that most porn was on – by far.

Early adopters have no hang-ups about buying / renting porn – just as they didn’t have back in the days of the VHS / Betamax war.

If all the porn is coming out on HD-DVD and nothing out on Blu-ray, then it would take an incredibly brave (or foolish) person now to think Blu-Ray stands a chance of becoming the standard.

This decision by Sony I suspect will be seen – within days – to be pivotal to the sales of machines.

Mark

HP TV NUT says:

Porn facts

Porno DVD sales in 2005 = $4.28B
Video Game sales in 2005 = $15B
Do not underestimate the power of the porn industry. I may not be a huge fan of porn or consumer, but when I talk to people about my 65″ HDTV, the first question they ask is “what does a porn movie look like on it?” I am willing to bet that with falling HDTV prices, those who do consume a lot of DVD porno (rental or purchase) will be lining up to grab HD DVD players for the newer porn releases.

ForeignUser says:

Blinde by blue rays

Sony is like the BluRay Charles of economy. This new crusade might turn an actually good medium into the first huge economical debacle (right next to (c) GWBs Iraq Crusade) of this millenium.

Nevertheless, sometimes instead of a format war with a clear winner, two formats survive. Like DVD-R and DVD
R. It all depends on whether there will be cheap dual-format burners and stand-alone-players. And, most important, firmwares that remove all DRM from the drives. Then, and ONLY then, the formats could survive. The people in the top floors of Toshiba, Sony, etc. should hope and pray that some criminal nerd will hack their firmwares as soon as possible, because that would boost the sales of their formats/hardware.

Porn and hacked firmwares are what actually decides format wars.

Bob says:

This really is a joke right?

This has got to be the stupidest decision ever. What does it matter what market the disc is in? The generic consumer is going to burn all his/her porn on the disc at home as well. I mean are they really serious? Good God this is HILARIOUS. These financial geniuses went to grad school got MBAs and stuff and all those years of experience…and they do this. I guess if we have to refer to another stupid decision in the future we can always say “It’s a sony” 😉

BS says:

To Punkass

In a world increasingly dependent on “the net”, the porn industry has become a moot point for format wars, since you can get more content on the net, and cheaper. What porn can you find on Blu-ray? Debbie Does Dallas? The format wars will be won on the net. And Microsoft will likely win it with it’s WMV-HD technology. WMV-HD is really something. You can watch HD even if you don’t have a HD player or an HDTV… just on your computer! You can watch it as soon as now. In less than a few years, all porn videos will be encoded with this codec, and as the codec is also used to distribute High Definition videos on standard DVDs, people will play back their clips on compatible DVD players (either blu-ray or HD-DVD players) and on their computers (with standard DVD players!). I already found some free HD clips to download and it’s amazing. Just take a look by yourself. Free HD porn sample you will see by yourself what’s all the fuss about HD.

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