August 07, 2010 11:22am
Nina Mercedez on Content Exchange
Source: HeartBreaker Films
by: Nina Mercedez
It has recently come to my attention that there is a huge misconception about content exchange among girls who have solo girl sites and I would like to voice my opinion on the matter.
As many of you know I was involved with a misunderstanding with Puba inc. recently. I made it known on a public board about how I felt on the matter which in return has caused a few girls to write blogs of their own and it made me realize how many people don't know what a content EXCHANGE is. As a Webmaster and Model I want to save something good which benefits many girls in the business before it gets completely destroyed by a new company giving it a bad name!
The purpose of this article is to inform girls with solo sites of what a content exchange should involve and not to bash anyone but if my story and what happened to me offends anyone or comes across as a bashing I apologize I just really care about the girls and I don't want to see anyone go through what I went through. I want webmasters to keep good business practices which in turn will keep all of the models happy and they will not feel like they are being taken advantage of.
I have had my website up for almost 10 years. I have had many content exchanges with some of the top name girls in the business. I have never run into any issues. I believe it is because girls who run their own sites and most webmasters know a content exchange is just that. It is an exchange of web content for my site and your site. One girl usually invites another girl to a specified location. The cost of location, photographer and sometimes male talent is split between the two girls. Usually, I personally pay the cost of everything and invite girls to come shoot cost free. Then I hand the content over at the end of the shoot.
If video was shot and the performer would like it edited, I will give her a specific date that the edited scene will be delivered. This is the norm and most importantly this is what is expected when a content exchange is set up. We run several girls official sites. I ask my girls to supply content to me. When I am in town I invite them to a location and pay for everything location, photographer, and we split the cost of male talent if that is needed. As a webmaster who makes a percentage of their site it is expected that I take care of some of the cost. it is not done as a favor, it is a professional courtesy.
My model release is very clear and so are most model releases that have been presented to me. Quite simply it says that the content will be used on my site and on your site. But no one will sell the content, trade the content, or distribute it without compensation. Any special terms should be discussed prior to the day of the shoot! There are some questions that need to be discussed before a content exchange, who is your webmaster? When will I get my content? Do I have to split cost on anything? Will I be allowed to live stream the shoot? Will make-up be provided? Is the photographer working on an exchange basis? That's important to know because if he is, it means that he will also get a copy of your content. You may want to have their model release faxed to you so you have time to read it.
NEVER read your model release AFTER a shoot! You must always read the paperwork presented to you very thoroughly. Educate yourself on legal terms that are used commonly in our business and don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for clarification. It will not make you look dumb. It just shows you care about yourself and your business. If you would like to change something in the release, just ask. If terms cannot be agreed upon and if the terms are not beneficial to you or you are not comfortable, don't put yourself in a bad spot. You may regret it later; it is better to just leave.
If it is possible it is always better to pay for shoots because in the end exclusive content is worth more on the web. I stream all my shoots and that’s how I pay for my shoots. My members are able to watch the shoot and get a preview of the content to come. I always encourage the girl I am shooting with to bring her computer and Mifi, so she can also stream our shoot. I have all my girls set up to live stream their shoots, so when I shoot them they are also making money and no one loses money for the day. This is something we have set up through streamate.com If you need more information on how to do this please contact me.
I recently had a very bad experience on a content exchange set and I feel the need to explain myself on the matter. Puba Inc. and their girls are writing blog articles filled with false information and lies. I had a Boy-Boy-Girl content exchange set up with a friend who will remain nameless in all this. The night before, she called me and explained that her webmaster didn't like the person I had arranged to shoot us, so if I was interested in shooting at their location with their photographer. When I asked about location it was explained to me it was a Twisty's location and we were going to be piggy backing off of them. So I assume, I don't know for sure but Twisty's was paying location and paying her Webmaster Kory who was going to be shooting us. I may be wrong but that was my impression.
I agreed because I wanted to shoot this scene and I wanted the model to be happy. We got to the location in the morning, we were greeted by Puba Inc owners, Ivan and Kory as well as the model. I took out my stuff and started getting dressed I also pulled out my computer and Mifi. When Kory walked in the room we chatted a while and I mentioned I would be streaming the shoot live into my members area. He said “Cool it's all good”. The model that we were shooting with doesn't have a member’s area up so she wasn't going to stream it live. Although, Kory did mention that they did have accounts set up with Streamate, but maybe it never occurred to them to stream their shoots for their girls to help them make money. I say this because he did question me on how I do it. As we were finishing up talking Kory asked me to sign their model releases. (I have attached a copy of their model release). [Not included with this article. -Ed.]
As I started reading the first page I noticed in bold print they stated they had the right to do whatever they wanted to with the content. So I immediately marked through it and wrote on the bottom our scene was exclusive to my site and the model’s site and could not be traded, sold, or distributed. My boy-girl scenes are very much in demand by fans. I keep them protected, they are usually exclusive to my website or produced for my own production company Heart Breaker Films. That's how I keep my value as a Porn-star. I don't shoot for just anyone either. If I do shoot boy-girl scenes I will only shoot for top name companies like Adam and Eve and that's why my name holds value. That is my reason for changing the terms of their model release. I have to protect myself and my livelihood as a Porn-star. I know some girls don't care and shoot whatever for whoever. In my opinion that is not a successful business model.
After I made changes to the first page of an almost 7 page model release, I called Kory over and showed him the changes. He looked at it and threw it on the table. Then he said “Well, this is not going to work because we have a distribution deal and we turn all content into DVD's”. I said ok and started to get dressed. As I was getting dressed I heard him outside talking to the model, so I went out there to explain to her personally that first if I was shooting a scene for a DVD release that should have been discussed before hand and I would need to be compensated through LA Direct models for that scene. Also that Ray would also need to be compensated. The model then explained she didn't know anything about a DVD or Cable TV deal in place. She was also under the impression we were just doing a straight trade. I was annoyed at this point because I felt like all this was being sprung on me and the model.
Neither of us would have known about this if I hadn't properly read my model release. This is important information that should have been discussed with all parties prior to the shoot. I myself run other girls websites and I also have a production company and I distribute my movies, but I would never distribute web traded content to a 3rd party without getting approval from my girls. I would pay them their scene rate, not a small percentage of DVD sales and CableTV sales. That is how I run my business and Puba chooses to run their business another way. It's not wrong. They have every right to run it like that. I just feel this should have been explained to the model and myself before hand. All of this could have been avoided. So the model explained to Kory we were all on set, we were all ready so could we just not do the DVD and Cable thing. At that point Kory cooled down and said yes.
We called Ivan in and he was very nice and said yes that was fine. We all went back to getting ready I made my changes to their model releases then handed the model my releases and a Streamate model release she took it to the other room with Kory. She returned and said "Kory said it isn't fair you get to stream and make money, but you wont sign our DVD and cable model release". At that point I felt like we were going tit for tat back and fourth. There was a very negative feeling. I was uncomfortable with Kory shooting my scene, so I told the model I can't keep doing this, my show has been scheduled for days and my members were counting on the show. It was fine with Kory until I wouldn't sign the DVD and Cable release. I looked at Ray and said, “I want to go. I am not comfortable anymore”. He replied, "Then lets go baby". We got dressed apologized to the model and Ivan we then started to pack. The model was pretty upset, so we told her we were going to keep the model releases so we can keep the changes that we made. Then we can shoot later in the week at my location, she agreed. There were no hard feelings between me and the model or Ivan.
My issue was with Kory for making a great situation very bad by nit picking over a streamed show that he agreed to when I walked through the door. Then he says it is not ok once I wouldn't agree to do a DVD, Cable TV scene free of charge. When this all happened, they were shooting another scene, so it was a “quiet on set situation” so no one got loud and threw a fit, Like Ivan said in a blog that was posted and deleted earlier this week. The way that I saw was, it is it was going to benefit Puba Inc. and the model more; who hadn't even launched her site yet, to have this scene then it was going to benefit me. I had no problem walking. I have plenty of scenes in my members area. I have 10 years worth of content. I had been shooting all week there was no reason for me to throw a fit.
If we can not come to terms then it is time to go. As we were leaving the model and Ivan started explaining to us that Kory wanted his model release back. Which was odd to me because I had already signed them. Ray and I are not going to hand over a legal and binding contract with our signatures and personal information, if the scene wasn't going to take place that day. Ivan very nicely explained that they would provide the model with new copies on the day of the shoot asked us to destroy them. To try and ease the situation Ray removed them from the backpack and tore them in half and stuffed them back in the backpack. The model came out and apologized for all the drama said she would email me her schedule and shoot with my photographer next time. I told her I probably didn't want to shoot for trade that I would book her through LA Direct and just pay her for the scene. She said no Ill just do the scene I am sorry for all this and then we left. That is the truth. I chose not to name the model in this because we are friends and I hope to remain friends. I hope that she will step forward and validate my story I have no reason to lie or stretch the truth in any way.
When I left I was pretty upset that half of my morning was wasted. We had flown in from PA and my time is valuable. I also felt like the setup was very shady and as a fellow Webmaster, I was upset that the model wasn’t informed of the terms of her agreement beforehand. I posted on twitter "Thanks Puba, for wasting my afternoon" which they weren't happy with, so they fired back. This was the start of a very public back and fourth argument. I think all of girls in the industry really need to know before agreeing to a content trade with Puba Inc or the sites that Puba Inc. represents, so maybe someone else’s afternoon doesn't get wasted. I also felt like they were being shady and trying to get a free scene. After a lot of back and forth Ivan and I came to a truce. He suggested I delete my tweets and he would delete his blog, we both complied. The very next day a Puba Girl, Jayden Jaymes decided to write a blog which motivated me to write this article. Reading it truly showed me that some girls have no absolutely idea what a content trade really is. Below you will find her blog.
"The PUBA Network.
August 5th, 2010
“Would you rather me make my own compilation DVD, or photoshop your vag into a disgusting, rotting piece of shit and sell it as a blue waffle? Because I have EVERY right to do both. You pick. And wise up… Take control of your image and capitalize!” Now… Allow be to explain what I mean by that…
"This paragraph is a good example of why you should read what you sign and always be specific about where and how your photo's are to be used. If you shoot with a girl and she decides one day she doesn't like you maybe she will Photoshop a dick on you and a donkey head in place of your face."
I’ve sort of excluded my self from the ‘porn drama’ as much as I could these past few months, however something’s come up that I just can’t avoid touching on. I’m not going to get into the who’s, the what’s and the where’s of how it all began because it’s none of my business. And frankly, having been the hot topic of several one sided dramatic events, I don’t know all the parties involved to I’m not going to poke fun or take sides.
Most people know about porn networks. Duh. You know, instead of just one site, you subscribe to a whole network, giving you access to lots of sites for one monthly rate, i.e. Brazzers and Naughty America. Well, porn girls also use similar networks to host their individual sites. These networks being Premium Cash, Brand Danger Network, and, in my case, PUBA. When it comes to the girls’ website, basically, if you’ve got a favorite girl, you can sign up for her site and get access to every other girls’ site that is a part of that network. In my case, if you sign up for my site, you also get access to the sites of girls like Shyla Stylez, Avy Scott, Charley Chase, London Keyes, etc. Networks are always adding new girls, and current members get access to the new added sites as part of their existing package.
Moving on. When girls shot for their sites, 95% of girls will do what we call a ‘content exchange’. Basically, when I shoot for my site and invite girls (and/or guys) to shoot with me, I don’t pay them and, instead, they get a copy of ALL the pictures, ALL of the ‘behind the scenes’ footage, and a copy of the scene(s), edited or unedited, their choice. They don’t have to pay for a photographer, a videographer, location, etc. With the PUBA network, we don’t have to pay for a photographer or videographer… EVER. Those guys are a part of the PUBA team and shoot amazing content. However, I do pay for my own locations. So anyway, girls that come shoot with me (or any other PUBA girl) get FREE content… GOOD content, for that matter. On a day that would cost an average porn producer $10,000 in talent, location, crew and equipment, girls don’t have to front a dime!
"Several things are wrong with this paragraph. Maybe Jayden is unaware but all rights are signed to Puba Inc. the photos are not owned by Jayden Jaymes. The model release clearly states photos and video are owned by Puba inc. Also Puba Inc. model release specifically states on the first page the model will receive an "EDITED" version of the scene within 10 days. It goes on to say on page 3. "If content is intended for a new website that is currently in development, this content will be released immediately following the launch of the designated site" That was also not discussed with me before walking on set nor did the model discuss that with me before hand. I have also heard stories from other models that they are still waiting on content that was withheld and they also were unaware of this until after they shot. I assume they did not thoroughly read the model release. She made a point at the end of this paragraph without me having to point out on my own, that a producer like me producing films for Heartbreaker films would pay over 10K a day to shoot scenes for my DVD deal and Cable deals but Puba Inc. is getting scenes for free by calling it a "content exchange:when what it really is, is talent being tricked into shooting scenes or free and receiving a copy of the footage”.
Before these shoots ever take place, like any porn set, we all sign releases. Girls will sign our PUBA release forms, granting us permission to do what we wish with the content, and we sign the release forms for the other parties, granting them permission to do what they wish with the content. EVERY porn company has EVERY girl sign a release form, granting them permission to do whatever they want with it, which is why scenes that I shot with one company end up on a compilation under another name, and why scenes of shot for this company have ended up on late night cable under the name of that company. One you sign those release forms, that content can go anywhere. Hell, I could take the pictures from all the scenes I’ve ever shot, Photoshop them, and start a site called ‘Blue Waffle Bitches’ and post the nastiness all over the web and they couldn’t do anything about it because they signed releases. Plain and simple. (If you don’t know what a ‘blue waffle’ is… Feel free to Google!)
Jayden makes a good point here but what she fails to recognize is that girls are showing up to a "Content Exchange" and not a paid porn shoot. When a company is paying you for your services they expect to use the footage for Web, DVD, etc. They are paying you for a performance and your charge for that scene should cover what the footage is being used for. The other thing is, I read all my model releases very carefully and make certain changes depending on the situation but when I am shooting for a big company I expect the model release will be on the up and up and honestly I have NEVER had an issue on set.
Being that there are so many porn star networks out there today, I did a lot of research before I settled with my friends who were starting the PUBA network. PUBA has a lot more to offer than every other Webmaster. Not only do they host sites for girls, but they’ve also got a cable deal worked out, and even a DVD deal, doing compilations for each individual girl using scenes previously released on her site. Like any other network, they take their percentage from my site profit, but it’s the same percentage that every other network takes. And, the profits from the cable deal and the DVD distribution go to me, minus their percentage. It’s MY site, MY cable deal, and MY DVD, all handled through one company. THAT right there is why I signed with them. Not only are they making me money through my website, but they’re constantly working on other projects to get my name out there and putting even MORE money in my pocket. In my opinion, you’ve got to be fucking stupid to not sign with a company like that. Why wouldn’t you want to make more money without doing any more work that you already do for your own site???
Now, after explaining all of that nonsense, here’s where the drama kicks in. The PUBA team has run into a few issues with people who ‘have a problem with’ our cable and DVD deal and think we’re trying to screw people (er, performers) by putting our content on cable and DVDs. WHAT?! I honestly don’t get this. There are several performers who will not shoot content with any PUBA girl because she doesn’t want us to release the scene on a DVD. What the FUCK difference does it make? Seriously. Somebody PLEASE explain the hold up to me because I don’t get it. Frankly, you sign that release granting me permission to do WHATEVER I want with it, and if you wanted to do your own compilation of your own scenes, feel free! Sell it on your site and make some money, hunny!
I really have to explain this one. There are girls in the business that will shoot anything with anyone for whatever rate. They don't really care about how their image is used and if it is misused. I have never been one of these girls. There are girls like me who care about what we put our names and images on and actually read the model releases that are presented to us. My boy-girl scenes have always been exclusive to my own company, to my website and of course Vivid when I was contracted with them. So, my boy-girl scenes are in high demand by fans. I am able to charge a rate that I am comfortable with. I only shoot boy-girl scenes with top name companies and by doing this, my image is worth more that the usual "scene girl" who works everyday and doesn’t care what it is for. So yes, I very much do care what DVD my name and image appear on. Being careful about this is the reason that is why people pay me to use my image. If you do not care then you are foolish and your stay in this business will be short lived.
To me, it sounds like a strange case of jealousy from companies who didn’t think to produce and sell compilations for their own girls, and jealousy from girls who didn’t think to do it themselves… Or even jealousy because they’re stuck in a contract with a network that doesn’t do it, so they can’t make the kind of money that we’re making. Other than that, I don’t understand why a performer would be so against me releasing a scene on a DVD that was released on both of our sites months ago. (Does anyone have an idea of any other reason they would be upset of this??? Please, explain it to me.)
Jealousy is an ugly word. I own my own production company and would never exploit my girls or any girl for that matter in that way. A good example of this is I run the Official site for Sophia Santi. She decided to shoot Boy-Girl scenes exclusively for her site. Now understand that we are speaking about mutually owned content. She has never shot boy-girl for a DVD company and hopes to one day. When she does will be able to charge a high rate because she will be able to offer the scene as an exclusive first time ever on DVD. I could exploit her and profit off this and produce the scene to DVD under Heart Breaker Films and pay her a small percentage. She is like family to us and I would never do that. It is not our business credo we care about our girls like family. Puba Inc. chooses to do things their way and that is fine but because other webmasters like myself choose not to do this doesn't mean were jealous.
PUBA is a network that works hard to benefit the girls, and only the girls. The company is ran by personal friends of mine that have been in the business for YEARS and are only looking out for the best interest of the girls after seeing how girls get dicked around by webmasters/producers/directors/etc. Everyone in this business can see that the economy is SHIT and this industry is going downhill FAST due to tube sites… Why not take the content that you already have and OWN and make as much money as you can?! You have the signed releases… And you’re free to do what you want with it!
Would you rather me make my own compilation DVD, or photoshop your vag into a disgusting, rotting piece of shit and sell it as a blue waffle? Because, I have EVERY right to do both. You pick. And wise up… Take control of your image and capitalize, ladies (and gents!)!"
A content trade with a company that handles content trade like the Puba Inc. is a deal that will only benefit the Puba Girls and Puba Inc. The Puba network and Jayden James is giving you two options either do a scene for free or they will "photoshop your vag into a disgusting, rotting piece of shit and sell it as a blue waffle?" This all coming from a caring network who treats their girls like family. Be careful to read your model releases, for this reason ladies! Do you want to share your image rights with someone with this outlook?
I have also gathered opinions and quotes from other webmasters and girls who run and operate their own sites on what a content exchange is in their own words.
Devon Michaels owner of www.clubdevonmichaels.com
"My content exchanges are simply that - a trade of web based content for the models sites- and the videographer if he is doing work on trade as well- I do scene sales on my site as well as free clips for members. Any DVD rights must be contracted and pre- arranged. All parties otherwise agree that no third party sales will be involved. Broadcasting is fine provided all parties agree and are fairly compensated."
Mariah Milano owner of www.mariahxxx.net
"The content trade part of the business needs an overhaul. First thing that I think hurts the process is that people don't understand what that really means. A content trade with another girl who has a solo site should be exclusive to those 2 sites, period. The purpose of the trade is that both parties shoot it for free in exchange for being able to share exclusivity to the content for their own sites. The idea that someone who has a solo girl site and is going to sell that content on DVDs and post it on other sites is ridiculous. It defeats the entire purpose and negates the value of the other girls content for their site. Content shoots cost money in most cases. When I shoot content I almost always hire a makeup artist, rent a location and hire someone independent and neutral to shoot everything. For example I shot with Sophie Dee and we hired Chris King to shoot everything and rented a location. We split the location costs and along with Derek Pierce we split Chris's fee 3 ways. I had the image sets rotated and optimized as well as raw on a disk then following day along with copies of each video scene on tape as well as all copies of releases and ID's. To me that is the ideal scenario and is the only way a content trade should be handled.
A friend of mine shot content with 2 other girls almost a year ago and one of the girls has held the content and has yet to release it to the other 2 girls. They also required the content to all be updated at the same time which to me is no one's decision to make other than the rightful owners of that content, being the other girls.
Another issue I have spoken about before is that so many girls have so little to do with the running of their own sites. Now I understand not everyone has the savvy or the time to run their site. Some girls shoot 5 days a week and are moms or feature dance or whatever so they hire someone to run their site for them. I completely understand that, but therein lies the problem. They have no control over anything and are at the mercy of the business practices of others who may or may not be professionals and do the right thing for all involved.
To hear someone say that a girl who doesn't want her content she is shooting with another girl all over the place to be jealous and not have a clue is as stupid as anything I've heard. I would turn it back on that girl and say that she has no fucking clue how things are supposed to work in this business and all it takes is an issue like this to come up to ruined a reputation and the talent pool of girls willing to shoot trades will diminish and the only content will be content they have to pay for, which sounds like a better plan for them anyway.
So anyone who is asked to sign a release prior to the content being shot make sure you read every single word in the release before you sign anything! On my release for example just above the signatures there is a space with several lines where both parties have to include all websites, DVDs, etc where the content is to be shown. I think this would be the easiest way to handle this and should be listed on all releases very clearly so there is no misunderstandings and once the paperwork is done no one is confused or has been mislead or cheated.
Our content is very valuable and having exclusive content is the only way to really make your site successful in today's market. If someone can find the same content on mega site somewhere else with hundreds of other girls why would they need to join a solo girl site to see it? That to be is taking all value away from someone who took the time and spent the money to try and bring value to their sites and ultimately their members."
Raymond Balboa- owner of The XXXSexCash.com Affiliate Program
It seems to me that some people are taking advantage of the definition of content trade. I do not agree with it at all. I have spoken with several performers who were not able to leave with the content that was shot. In fact, if they were shooting with a Puba Girl that does not have a live site, they were not allowed to have the content until the site went live. It is in their model release. That it is why it so important to read before you sign. Do not be afraid to state your changes that will make you feel comfortable.
That is something that you would think would be pointed out or discussed before you show up ready to shoot. When I want to release a DVD, I pay my talent. I do not call it a content trade! I would never ever ask anyone to perform for free and then withhold the content until I was good and ready. Anyone that participates in this form of content trade needs to get their head checked! Protect your image and your name, only trade with reputable girls and Webmasters, period.
Mr Bill Fox owner for several solo girl sites "Definition of a webmaster that receives 50% revenue of a individuals website...
A webmaster who really cares about there clients work for there % these include the following to make your 50%
1. Shoot and edit scenes for the client or pitch in for expense of shooting content 1/2
2. Generate traffic to the site with creating a affiliate program, tgps, banners etc.
3. No server or bandwidth charge to client.
No girls should read their contract and make sure you are not being charged for these services or made to believe that your webmaster is doing you a favor.
Also, GET A COPY OF EVERYTHING YOU SHOOT WHILE YOUR WITH THEM -- NOT after you leave them and then try to get them to give you copies of all your footage after you part ways.
Copies include Tapes, Stills, Model Releases, 2257, ID's, Or the new format "Digital Video Footage"
People invest in a external hard drive and take with you to content shoot most photographers and videographers use digital devices which create digital footage and you can get same day as shot."