Sex lives on videotape

I would have thought this would be obvious, but here’s a cautionary tale for you all. Do not film yourself having sex. And do not allow anyone else to film you having sex. The rule applies particularly strongly if you’re a celebrity. But if you aren’t, the discovery of the tape could lead to you becoming the next Paris Hilton overnight.

Kid Rock’s never struck me as the sharpest tool in the shed, but being taped with another dude and four girls on a tour bus is just asking for internet immortality. Apparently the lawyers are arguing his trademark was violated by the very classy adult entertainment company World Wide Red Light District. I can understand concerns about violation, sure – but of his trademark?
Then there’s Pamela Anderson, an ex-girlfriend of Rock’s, of course. Who I learned from the article was also in a sex tape with Bret Anderson of glam-rock band Poison, who released the somewhat unfortunately-named album Open Up And Say… Aah. She successfully stopped that video from getting published, unlike the Tommy Lee tape that was everywhere on the internet.
But really, two videos? As Oscar Wilde would have said, losing one home-made sex video is understandable, but losing two just seems careless.
It’s a pity Rock and Anderson aren’t still together – clearly, it was a match made in home-video heaven.
But Kid Rock’s isn’t the only sex video scandal unfolding at the moment. Some far more distressing footage is currently exploding all over the internet. Logging onto a blog-tracking website today, I discovered that the most popular search terms on the net at the moment – in fact, the first 4 of the top 5 – relate to a young Singaporean woman who videotaped herself having sex with her boyfriend. The story goes that a jealous rival found the phone and downloaded the video to the internet. Which, as far as getting revenge goes, is pretty much the nuclear option.
As amusing as someone else’s embarrassment may seem, the consequences could be extraordinarily serious. (I’m not providing links or more information because I don’t want to help destroy the lives of two people who are apparently teenagers.) And you can imagine that as the participants’ faces are identified, the repercussions could be very dramatic, particularly in the context of quite a conservative culture. Pornography is illegal in Singapore for starters. And we know from bitter recent experience how draconian that justice system can be.
The internet can so casually destroy people’s lives. We’ve seen this with all the embarrassing emails forwarded out of law firms – such as the Allens sandwich incident, which led to the women involved being sacked, and the infamous Claire Swires incident. It should probably illegal to distribute someone else’s private video footage. In fact, given copyright law, it is – but when the internet’s involved, copyright law goes out the window, and content can be everywhere within 24 hours.
Harsher penalties are needed. And there’s only one way they’ll happen – if a politician is busted in a raunchy sex tape. Obviously most of us would rather superglue our eyelids closed than watch a pollie getting it on. But you watch – distributing a sex tape would become illegal faster than you’d throw up if you spotted a tape of John and Janette in action. With harsher laws on violating other people’s privacy, victims like this poor couple would at least get some measure of protection from instant internet infamy.

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