Where did that picture come from?
It is simply the picture of a young lady, with a cute bottom, that is being well punished with a wooden spoon. It seems like a fairly real scenario, has the domestic feel of a mom punishing her older teen daughter, and there is no doubt that the spanking she received clearly did the job. The copyrights are from 2004, which was nine years ago, from a well-known spanking producer and everyone must know who produced this picture. So, I will use the photo software that came with my computer and go ahead and crop out the copyrights and put this picture on my blog. But where did this photo really come from and what was the journey that it took before it ended up on a random blog with the copyrights removed?
Based on a discussion that took place yesterday on Fetlife, in which Fetlife contacted me to tell me that someone was using one of my pictures, and asked me if I would like it taken down. This person, with more than 500 pictures associated with his profile, none of which are his, had indeed posted a photo of mine, but the copyrights were still in place. I wrote Fetlife and told them no big deal, as at least people know where the picture came from. I understand that the Internet has changed, and what used to be mine, that people had to pay to see, now seems to be everyone’s for free. I am trying hard to be a realist and not get my panties in a bunch anymore about my content being so readily available, outside of my member’s areas.
But I want to take you back to the picture above, taken in November of 2004 and tell you the full story of what it took to produce it. As many of you know, my wife and I started spanking each other on film, in the late 90’s to help pay for graduate school. When we finished grad school the sites had really taken off and we decided to go full-time with them. We spanked out of our house for a couple of years and eventually opened up our 1st studio. We quickly added Lady D, and a webmaster, and took on Jessica and Brandi as full-time models with their own sites. This allowed for extra revenue and expansion, which led us to our 1st real production studio, a 4400 sq. ft. building that had all the space we required for many years.
It was at this point in our lives, around 2002, that we decided that we were going to make this a very real business and not just a couple that happens to film spanking videos. After countless meetings, legal consolations, and business plans we put a large scale plan into action. Over the next year we hired an office manager, a network technician, a video editor, a full-time accountant, a full-time tape and DVD duplicator who also handled our mailroom, and a graphic artist. We also hired Kailee, Cindy Baker, and Betty as full time production staff members/extras and brought on Coach as a full-time spanker. All three models were sent to 2 weeks of digital production training, to better learn the cameras and lighting. We did a full upgrade of all of the equipment and spent 10’s of thousands of dollars to make sure we had the best equipment money could buy for Internet based productions.
When we set this large scale plan into action, we wanted happy and secure employees. Every staff member had full medical, dental, and vision insurance with the ability to add family members. There was a 401k in place for everyone as well as an investment consultant that came twice a year to speak with the employees about their options within the company. Our initial work schedule was four days a week with Fridays off for everyone accept the person who ran our customer service. We recognized 15 paid holidays a year, gave two weeks paid vacation to all employees, as well as 10 paid “personal” days a year. We kept our staff kitchen fully stocked with every beverage known to man and healthy snacks that anyone could help themselves to.
We had decided from day one that how we would stand out in the industry was by how we treated our models. We created a model handbook and power point presentation so that any girl that walked through our doors would know exactly what she was getting herself into. We created a very detailed pay scale, so there was no confusion about what she would be paid for each scene. This pay scale was far beyond what we needed to pay any model for the work she was doing and was clearly the highest in the industry. We also had an all-female production team, so they were able to work in an environment in which there were always more women than men present. We took great pride in how we treated our models and this really allowed us to have more models than any spanking site had ever even considered hiring. At the time the above picture was taken, we had more than 50 models working for us.
In order to hire a model, we needed to advertise, which is not the cheapest thing in the world when it comes to adult advertising. But we took out a ¼ page add in a local paper, popular on college campuses, and it worked out well for us. We also put into place a model referral system in which any model that referred another, received money for the 1st two shoots of her friend. How well we paid our models, and how well we treated them, led to a 95% retention rate for all of our models. Once a girl shot with us once, she always wanted to come back.
So let’s dive into what it took to create that picture above. With a full staff in place and a proper studio to shoot the content, it begins. We pay for the advertising and then wait for our phone to ring. After an initial phone consultation the model is scheduled for an interview with our office manager/model coordinator. Her interview lasts close to an hour in which everything about what we do is explained. If it seems like a good fit for everyone involved, she is scheduled for a shoot. On the day of her shoot, before we film anything, the new model sits down with Lady D and I for 30 minutes as we discuss the reality of a shoot, what we are looking for, the legal aspects, the fact that we do report earning to the IRS and she will be receiving a 1099, etc. She also fills out all the form required by 18 USC 2257 as far as Federal laws documenting her age, with two forms of ID. During this time the production staff carried the equipment from the upstairs to the room we will be shooting in. Light and cameras are setup and the production begins. Lady d and I script the three scenes that the model will be doing and we get started. Each model films three scenes, all of which are filmed on digital video. In addition to the video, professional strobes are used with a high end digital camera to capture stills of the whole event. Over the next 2-3 hours, I, Lady D, the model, and 2-3 production people do what we can to create the best possible content. The goal is to film the hardest spankings possible without exceeding the model’s personal limits.
When the shoot is over, the model waits as our accountant cuts her a company check. As the check is being written the production team is busy preparing for the next shoot. The pictures that were taken from that shoot are loaded onto a large RAID array, which is shared on the network, so the graphic designer can take the photos, color correct them, resize them, and add copyrights. These photos are then put into a database, designed by our network admin, and are scheduled for updates to a site. The mini-DV video tapes are taken to the video editor and where he captures them onto another high capacity computer and begins the process of editing the clips. Once they have been color corrected, watermarks added, edited into clips that are the right size for download, and then compressed into various formats, these clips are indexed and put into the database for future updates.
At this point, the network admin takes charge of the content and is responsible for getting it online to our various servers. Being that we wanted the best and fastest sites out there, we chose to purchase several high end servers that were maintained and managed by a well-respected company. We went with OC3 connection, directly to the backbone, with multiple redundancies so that is any given server had an issue, it would automatically kick over to a backup box. To assure that content was never lost; we had the crew do nightly backups of our content and store those drives offsite. The servers were monitored 24 hours a day to assure that there was never a second that any of our sites went offline. Through the LAMP based database system designed by our network admin, he is able to upload all of the content where it sits on a server until the day that it is designated to update.
Now the content sits online where we hope that people will sign-up and view it. To get new members, we use various forms of marketing, mostly done by myself and the webmaster. Banner ads, both static and flash based are designed by our graphic artist. If we were successful, members come to our site and want to sign up. We pay various companies to allow us various options for billing. As an adult company we are considered “high risk” so the percentages paid to the processors are quite high. For our DVD sales and such, in which tangible goods are actually shipped, we have a “high risk” merchant account as well. But it is not just as easy as signing up for a credit card processor if you want to use VISA. VISA has a staff of people that go through each and every page of a website that want to bill through them and evaluate the content. In every case this is happened for my sites, I am given a list of content that is unacceptable that I have to remove. This is content that I have already filmed and paid for, that has to be removed, never to be seen…just the price of doing business with VISA.
Once a customer has finally signed up, they are free to enjoy the site and download whatever they want. Since we are looking at November 2004, this is back when bandwidth was very expensive. I am billed based on the Mbps that flow through the OC3 connections to the Internet that my servers experience. More than 20% of my membership sales each month go towards only the cost of bandwidth. To assure that all of our customers have a good experience, can report site problems, and most of all to make cancelling their membership as easy as possible, I have a customer service representative available during working hours, five days a week.
Once again, this is 2004, in which we had an administration running the country, which was not all that friendly to adult websites. To make sure that I not only met the Federal standards regarding record keeping requirement, but that I set the bar, I needed to have good legal representation. I needed a professional that could look at every detail of our sites and documentation. We went with the firm and the lawyer that represented Larry Flynt before the US Supreme Court. With a growing company that had full-time staff, part-time staff, and contract based models, we also needed consolation regarding taxes, so we also had a tax attorney. As people try to piggy back off the popularity of large websites such as mine, we also needed to go through the Federal process of registering our trademark, so none of the names of our sites could be used by other websites.
So this is a brief look at the money out of my pocket to make that picture possible. In addition to the talented staff that I could have done none of this without, there is my time. I poured my heart and soul into these sites to provide the best possible content that I felt I could produce. Before 2003, every job listed above, I did myself. People often comment that I have the best job in the world, and while I do get to spank cute girls on a regular basis, I worked my ass off to build a full scale corporation, and there was nothing easy at all about it.
So, that picture above, from 2004 that you are thinking about putting on your blog with the copyrights removed is the result of the work of so very many talented and dedicated individuals. I did not snap the picture on my phone and click “share” and it then appeared on some random website. Before that picture ever made it to your computer, at least a dozen people were paid in some part to make it happen. That picture puts food on my table and will help put my kids through college. In 2004 there was only one way to see that picture and that was to sign up to Realspankings.com and view it. I know a lot has changed since then and the Internet is all about file sharing, piracy, tube sites, and how you can get whatever you want for no charge. I am coming to grips with it and it certainly is helping to kill an industry. So, if you are going to take one of my pictures and put it on your blog, please do me the courtesy of understanding what really went into the production of that picture and leave the copyright in place. Maybe someone will view your blog and want to see the video that goes with that scene. Maybe they will actually come to my site and signup and like what they see. Maybe they will not try to find a pirated version of that video , which will allow me to film so many more just like the ones they love.
Since I was apart of the conversation on FetLife I really wanted to see what you wrote. Like I said on fet, someone posting one of the pics on free sights lead me to getting a membership. YesI have let it expire and I have been meaning to get back on but I just haven't had the time to spend on your site. Because once you start it is hard to stop.
One thing I have ALWAYS done is use only images that are found on mainstream TGP style sites that usually have affiliate links back to the source. I avoid pictures with the watermark removed. And on every image (unless it's a reblog), I put a link to the gallery I found the image on, and a hyperlink credit to the source.
I make not a dime from my Tumblr, and a genuinely believe that people who like what they see can click through to the content producer and hopefully some will sign up.
Your work has been an amazing contribution to the industry. I've followed it right from the very early days when Jessica used to have a little blog. One time I posted a request to her discussion board and amazingly you shot a video of her getting spanked just how I had asked for it. Just awesome.
I think that fans like me that post some of the promotional materials from your site, need to remember the importance of posting credit to the content producer AND a hyperlink to the site, even if this doesn't benefit THEM.
It is sad that some people believe it's okay to crop off watermarks and try to use your content for their personal gain. I understand how hurtful that must be. Fans of this fetish area need to protect it. This is a small percentage of the adult industry, and if we don't look after it, we'll lose amazing content producers forever. And that would be a sad day.
Thanks for all you do Michael.