‘Normal People’ Producers Fire Warning Shot at Pornhub as Pirated Sex Scenes Spread Online (EXCLUSIVE)

Tim Dams

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The producers of Hulu and BBC’s “Normal People” have issued a takedown request to adult site Pornhub after a compilation of sex scenes from the 12-part series surfaced on the video-sharing platform.

The 22-minute compilation was reportedly posted on Pornhub last week, but has since been removed. The full video is still available on other sites, however.

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Ed Guiney, executive producer of “Normal People” and co-founder of Element Pictures, tells Variety: “We’re hugely disappointed that excerpts from the series of ‘Normal People’ have been used in this way. It’s both a violation of copyright and more importantly, it’s deeply disrespectful to the actors involved and to the wider creative team.”

Guiney added: “We have taken appropriate steps to require that the content be removed from the platform with immediate effect.”

Pornhub told Variety the video has been removed from its site. Corey Price, VP of Pornhub, said:  “Pornhub is fully compliant with the law. We respect all copyright requests and as soon as we become aware of the existence of these types of videos on our site, we have them removed.”

Related: Daisy Edgar-Jones & Paul Mescal Celebrate ‘Normal People’

The pirating and distribution of TV and sex scenes online has become a major issue with the growth of internet video sharing platforms, having also affected shows such as “Game of Thrones.”

Illegal cuts of intimate scenes from “Normal People” are also circulating on other sites on the internet, highlighting the challenge facing rights holders and talent in dealing with the issue.

It is accepted practice for producers to engage anti-piracy companies to scan video-sharing platforms that may host copyrighted material, then issue takedown letters to the sites. Most well-known sites comply with the takedown notices although it can take time for the request to be processed.

If a site does not comply with the takedown notice, then the producer would have to resort to other legal remedies, which may include seeking an injunction for material to be removed. However, this is a costly process.

The law is still playing catch-up with internet platforms in dealing with the problem. One legal expert who preferred to remain anonymous told Variety: “If scenes from ‘Normal People’ were not being copied, edited and shared online, I’d be surprised. It happens all the time, and there is not a lot you can do about it.”

While legitimate video-sharing sites based in countries such as the U.S. and U.K. will comply with takedown requests, it is much harder to deal with illegal platforms operating out of countries such as Russia, said the lawyer. “You can try to take down the sites, but the commercial reality is that it is expensive to do — and another site will quickly pop up in its place.”

The legal source added: “This is drawing more people to the show. Out of the negative you have got to take the positive — that exposure is possibly a help if you are trying to sell the show across the world.”

That, of course, is no solace to the on-screen talent and creative teams behind pirated shows.

Starring Daisy Edgar-Jones as Marianne and Paul Mescal as Connell, the 12-part “Normal People” tracks their tender but complicated relationship from the end of their school days in a small town west of Ireland to their undergraduate years at Trinity College.

Since launching April 26 as a box set on digital channel BBC Three in the U.K., the series has won acclaim from critics and drawn viewers en masse to catch-up service BBC iPlayer. “Normal People” was released in the U.S. on streaming platform Hulu on April 29.

Pornhub is one of the world’s most prolific adult websites, averaging more than 100 billion video views a year.

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