Wednesday, January 16, 2008

iPorn?

There are times when you think of something, wonder if you should share it, and then think better and are glad you did not. This does not appear to be one of those times.

Yesterday Apple’s Steve Jobs announced online movie rentals. He also proudly announced that 27% of the US smartphone traffic travels through an Apple device. Finally, he announced the release of a shiny new laptop, small enough to fit inside and A4 envelope, with scaled down hardware capabilities and scaled up wireless capabilities. It seems clear that Apple is hedging their bets on their ability to channel large shares of the consumer market through an Apple device. So . . . since large portions of the internets are devoted to “adult content,” and since (arguably) that cozy little room behind the closed door is the lifeblood of the neighborhood video store . . . will Apple’s thirst for market dominance tempt them to offer adult content through iTunes?

The Apple image, to me, is essentially the image portrayed by Steve Jobs in his advertisements – trendy, clean, neutral, yuppie-ish, etc. I do not think it is unrealistic to picture someone like Jobs when you try to conjure up a face for that mysterious term, “liberal elite.” That’s why, say, conservative fundamentalist mothers (and their various pastors) might freak out if they perceive iTunes to be pipelining pornography into their teenage son’s bedroom, and associate Apple with something from Revelations, and Jobs with, well, the devil. That’s a tad extreme, but you get the point. And that's all to say nothing about the radical (dare I say 'hysterical'?) left . . .

On the other hand, there is a lot of money lurking out there to be made. It does not take a genius to realize that “one click ordering” of adult content (through a service like iPorn?) could be a big, big money maker. Is that more or less money than the way-right and way-left bring in, such that alienating them would be worth it? Would the Assorted Outraged be likely to use the services anyway? Would anyone even care? Am I making a mountain from a mole hill?

My gut tells me that they will do it, but not until after iTunes movie rentals become more established. I couldn’t seem to get to sleep last night, and I used the service to rent “The Italian Job” (don’t bother). It worked very, and I think that market establishment will not take long at all.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I personally would be surprised to see it for the reasons you mentioned. Apple doesn't want to alienate anyone in its quest to topple Microsoft. Although one should never ever under estimate the influence of a large pile of cash, which is what iPorn (or, iTunesX?) represents . . .

1/16/2008 1:57 PM  
Blogger Matt Berg said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/16/2008 3:39 PM  
Blogger matt said...

I think it's unlikely for Apple to allow the rental of full-on XXX hardcore porn via iTunes. But I think it will be interesting to see (having not looked into it yet at all) their policy on NC-17 rated films. It seems like they might, for family-friendly and public relations reasons, reject it (as they probably would with the truly XXX material).

I also wouldn't be surprised to see some third-party try to hack iTunes or create some sort of add on that is marketed as iPorn or iTunesX.

1/16/2008 3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt they will try it. Not unless they can bury it in list of features, like downloadable music, web browsing, mobile phone interface, podcasts, TV shows, and ringtones.

Oh wait...

You can expect to see an "adult" tab by 2009.

1/16/2008 10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leave it to a guy to post something like this. Remind me why a post about porn is on a law school blog?

1/17/2008 2:39 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

Same reason why there are posts about college sports?

1/17/2008 2:46 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/17/2008 3:07 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Whew!

Now I'll tell you how I really feel.

Pornography on the Internet is not a "guy" issue, nor is it the kind of thing that a person would "leave it to a guy" to discuss. I am more interested in the way Apple will try to balance their public image with their borderline-sleazy affinity for huge amounts of cash. No matter what your gender is, it's hard to escape the conclusion that the issue of pornography and streaming Internet content is, in the case of Apple, a 400 pound gorilla.

The great thing about the blog universe is that people point to gorillas.

I'll be disappointed if this thread devolves into a finger pointing match about the evils of pornography, the evils of censorship, Hitler, or any other hackneyed feature of the so-called discussion in this area. I wanted to talk about the strategic moves a multi-billion dollar corporation might make to try to continue making money in an ideologically charged market. Isn't that more interesting (and appropriate for a law blog) than "leave it to a guy" type crap?

1/17/2008 3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What interest might lawyers have in a leading technology company's new application that could allow it to tap into a multibillion dollar industry? Gee, I don't know.

And if you think all those prestigious law firms don't happily bill gambling, liquor, and porn companies every day of the week, you are in for quite a shock.

1/17/2008 4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thou does protest too much.

I don’t understand why the author is so defensive about this being an issue that only a guy would bring up. No one questions that there are numerous legal issues that accompany the issue of porn. In fact, I am sure there are plenty of lawyers making tons of money helping build the porn empire. Still, that doesn't really change the fact that women don’t spend their days thinking about porn and whether or not another company is going expand access to what is already widely available. That is something a guy would do. And being female I am doing what many women would do when reading this porn post—yawning and thinking who cares. Lighten up. Not everyone needs to think your post is interesting or law related.

1/17/2008 5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's being defensive because you are being so offensive for being extremely gendered. Not all women are like you. Not all men are like what you think men are like. Saying that women don't think like men do about business opportunities hurts women.

1/17/2008 11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John You = chumptastic


http://www.philly.com/inquirer/opinion/20080116_Terror_suspects_are_waging_lawfare_on_U_S_.html?adString=inq.news/opinion;%21category=opinion&randomOrd=011608021725

1/18/2008 6:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apple will not do it. They have to play nice with the major movie and music companies. Time Warner, Sony, United Artists don't traffic in porn.

They have all of the movie making technology, but they don't do porn and won't go anywhere near it.

There's a *lot* bigger downside to mucking around with porn than an upside from the cash.

Although, Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt... make big money on porn / pay per view. They get the movies at a fraction of the price, but they charge 2-3 times as much. It is a huge profit margin for them.

For the business model you're thinking of try:
http://www.PornoTube.com or
http://www.YouPorn.com or
http://www.Shufuni.com

Free porn sites that link to video on demand.

1/27/2008 2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

iPorn.com is about to launch soon....any guess what they might be planning on doing......maybe they are already ahead of the game......does anybody know anything about them

1/30/2008 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can actually invest in iPorn.com through a company called AdultVest (www.AdultVest.com). They run a hedge fund that invests in adult entertainment companies. Their fund owns iporn.com.

5/28/2008 7:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the apple conference and saw those hot iPorn girls promoting! It made me go to the site and I saw those girls on the site getting banged!!! I'm in love with www.iPorn.com

6/08/2009 2:10 PM  

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