Brazil's Leading Porn Production Company Is Giving Pirates a Hard Time

Brasileirinhas is using the DMCA from outside the US.

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Apr 15 2015, 5:20pm

Image: ​Felipe Larozza/Vice

​Most online porn is free—but have you ever wondered how it even exists, being that neither you nor any of your friends actually pay for any of it?

If you're a legitimate enthusiast of true amateur porn, that's an easy answer, due to the fact that the genre does not necessarily rely on money. But what about productions that do need some cash to get made?

The porn star and entrepreneur Stoya, in an interview with Motherboard, has already stated that she's not that fond of you, irresponsible streamer. But how do you explain to a generation used to getting most content for free, either by downloading or streaming, that a pirated video has consequences for a whole chain of producers, performers, and people who depend on the porn business to make ends meet?

The porn industry is putting a lot of thought on how to adapt to piracy, and Brasileirinhas, the biggest Brazilian porn company, has adopted a "damage control" strategy to avoid losing its subscribers to torrents or streaming services. (The company's owner calls this "drying ice," an exercise in futility.)

When I covered PIP (the Brazilian equivalent of the AVN Awards) last year, I spoke to Fábio Dias, the production company's marketing director who is widely known as its public face.

"My company is currently a 100 percent internet business," said Fabão Pornô, as he's also called. "I have 14 paid websites and basically live off subscriptions. But to get to live off that, I have a wonderful partner that I call God, but whose name is Google."

A classic copyright notice on XVideos.

The Digital Millenniu​m Copyright Act—a.k.a. DMCA—is a series of rules and regulations sanctioned in the US to expand the protection of copyright on the web.

Some websites that allow users to upload adult content, such as Pornhub and XVideos, started including a DMCA form so anything published on them without express authorization from copyright holders can be flagged and removed from Google's search results.

"But to get to live off that, I have a wonderful partner that I call God, but whose name is Google."

It's an effective procedure, but purely manual. That's why the company hired two employees whose sole job is to fill out these forms daily and sent them to Google or any other video sites to take down any content being reproduced without authorization. 

"We could take down up to 5,000 videos a day, but on the average we end up with 1,000, 1,500 a day," explains Rafael Santos, Brasileirinhas' head of programming.

Rafael reveals it's a job worthy of Sisyphus, especially when it comes to XVideos, the web's largest porn site. "XVideos is the leader of the pack," says Fabão. Brazzers, the production company behind XVideos, is actually part of MindGeek, which​ pretty much controls every major porn streaming website. MindGeek's power and influence is such that some performers even avoid saying anything about it so they won't get into the company's blacklist.

Being that each day it gets harder to run a business in porn, Brasileirinhas might be considered a survivor on the Brazilian market.

The production company managed to overcome the darker days of porn with the arrival of the Blockbuster chain, which killed the distribution in local video stores and pushed back the company's first owner, Luís Alvarenga, who quit the company in 2007.

Then there was the second crisis, the one we're seeing right now, with the dissemination of illegal videos on the internet. There's not much left of the company's heyday, when it hired Brazilian B-list celebrities such as Alexandre Frota, Gretchen, Rita Cadillac and Mateus Carrieri, paying them high salaries.

Nowadays, the company stays ahead of its Brazilian rivals due to the fact that "brasileirinhas" had become a popularized genre of its own, widely sought out by consumers of Brazilian porn.

In the company's unassuming office located on Downtown São Paulo, Fabão explains that the laborious task carried out by those two employees mentioned earlier ensures the subscription of the 11,000 faithful customers that the site represents, which is the company's main source of income.

The subscriptions are the a factor for the company to give a really hard time to anyone seeking Frota's or Vivi Fernandes' flicks for free. "There was a time, before we started doing this, when it was real easy finding those videos. Now, if some dude really wants a Vivi Fernandes' video, he's gotta be a kick-ass researcher. He'll have to look on blogs, work real hard," says Rafael.

The use of DMCA by Brasileirinhas started to being taken seriously, according to Fabão, when Google Brazil's managing director, Fábio Coelho, was arrested by the Brazilian Federal Police for not taking down videos attacking Brazilian politician Alcides Bernal. 

"Prior to that, we sent links regularly and stuff wasn't taken down, and then after that happened, Clayton realized that this stuff was gonna be taken dead seriously," he said. "It did."

"If some dude really wants a Vivi Fernandes' video, he's gotta be a kick-ass researcher."

Even so, each and every day more and more sites that use Brasilerinhas' content with no permission keep popping up. There are so many that copy the content that back in 2013, by mistake, the company's official site was de-indexed from search mechanisms. 

"There are so many websites that copy our description that Google thought we weren't the real one. It was the 'super crisis," says Fabão. "We weren't shown on Google results during four months and had to rebuild our entire website to get things back on track. I almost went nuts."

When asked if there's any difference between streaming or downloading a torrent, the director and the programmer are straight-forward: "If you ain't paying, it ain't right." 

Fabão points to several pirated DVDs spread throughout his desk, bought from street vendors—a staple of the República neighborhood in São Paulo. "It's the same as buying a pirated copy. By the way, I don't even get close to those dudes 'cause I just feel like beating the shit out of them." He laughed.

This article was translated from Motherboard Brazil.