Acacia Update: The Fight Is Not Over

By now, everyone in this industry has heard of Acacia and every webmaster is aware of the grief that Acacia has caused the online adult community. Why is it then that the subject of Acacia hardly ever comes up any more for discussion on the webmaster boards? The battle certainly isn’t over and Acacia is not giving up the fight. Some companies in the industry have chosen to license the patent, rather than go through the hassle of a lawsuit, but there are adult companies in this industry that are spending their hard-earned profits to spar with Acacia in the courtroom and they are doing this on behalf of all adult webmasters. There are people in this business that are giving their time and money to fight a battle for the whole industry and it is time that all adult webmasters acknowledge this. Even if you do not have large sums of money to join the legal battle, there are ways that you can support the fight against Acacia.

I felt that it was time that we re-educated ourselves about the threat of Acacia and so I enlisted the help of an expert on the issue. I recently spoke with FightThePatent crusader Brandon Shalton, to get an idea of the status of the Acacia issue, and to find out how adult webmasters could get more involved. Here is what Brandon had to say.

Muffy: I talked to you before Christmas. What has changed with the whole Acacia issue since then? Have there been any recent developments?

Brandon: The current defendants are VS Media (Video Secrets), New Destiny (Home Grown Video), GameLink, Lightspeed, AEBN, Ademia (SunUp Media), Audio Communications, Adult Revenue Service, Cybernet Ventures (Adult Check), Pro Adult/Global AVS, National A1, Cyber Trend (SilverCash), ClubJenna, ATK, MaxCash. They went to court on Feb 6th for the first Markman Hearing. A Markman Hearing is where the judge determines the scope and definitions of the terms used by the plaintiff. In this case, Acacia is trying to define the words and phrases in the patent. An example is the debate over the phrase "remote locations". In reading the patent, it describes the scenario where someone would order a video over the phone (at work or at home) and the video would appear at a "remote location" which is your television set. Acacia is defining "remote location" to now mean your computer is remote from the server. Right now, the defendants are in the third session of the Markman Hearing. There are a few more days planned and then the judge should make a ruling on the terms by late summer.

Muffy: Who have been some of the latest adult companies to get targeted by Acacia?

Brandon: Hustler, Playboy, and New Frontier are the most notable names to have been targeted by Acacia and who have licensed the patent.

Muffy: What makes you want to still be involved with trying to educate people about the threat of Acacia?

Brandon: At this point, most webmasters know about Acacia, especially mainstream, so a lot of the efforts that people were putting in have dropped off. In addition, the search for prior art and talking to experts in the field has also dropped off with some good potential prior art found.

These days, the action is in the courts.

Muffy: Is there any hope on the horizon, that the threat of Acacia can be stopped in any way?

Brandon: Companies need to stand up to bad patents. If they dont, it sends a signal to other patent licensee companies who will believe that there is a way to abuse the patent and civil law processes to make money.

The current defendants are spending the profits from their businesses in order to fight for everyone. It is a very expensive legal fight, and it is unfortunate that the adult community hasnt done more. For those webmasters that cant afford to send money, they can send traffic to the defendants instead. This way they make money in their affiliate programs and it also helps the defendants out.

Muffy: What do you encourage adult webmasters to do to prepare themselves for a battle with Acacia?

Brandon: Acacia has stopped the targeting of adult websites for now. Instead, they have filed a proposed class action lawsuit against every adult site. It remains to be seen if the courts will grant it, but if it does, then this fight comes into everyones backyard.

Muffy: What can we, as an industry do, in order to prevent companies like Acacia from terrorizing us with their patent infringement cases?

Brandon: Hopefully this Acacia issue doesnt set the standard of webmasters being apathetic about these issues. A few have rallied and gave money to help the defendants, but it is not enough. More webmasters need to, rather than settling. But then again, its business and businesses move in their own self-interest. It is becoming more rare these days for businesses to act on issues for the greater good. The current defendants are clearly the new leaders in the industry.

Muffy: Thanks for talking with me Brandon about this very important issue. I wish you the best of luck in your fight against Acacia.

Visit Fight the Patent for updated information on the legal battle between the adult industry and Acacia.

Reader Comments: (2 posts)

Liami says:
I think patenting is the right phsloiiphy.There are many facets of the IP protections ,of cource economy of time and money may be problem for tiny resource poor organizations.But at the same time A WELL PROTECTED PATENT portfolio provide great strength and bright future for the organization.
September 25th, 2012
at 9:01pm EST
Rating StarRating Star
Olivia says:
Too many copmlimnets too little space, thanks!
August 13th, 2011
at 6:01am EST
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