One of the cornerstones of postmodernist theory is that there are no new ideas, just variations on old ones. This concept evidently applies to the adult industry, which is relying on some creative copycatting tactics to drum up pageviews.

In an effort to capitalize on the success of viral amateur porn photos, some producers are evidently recreating the content for their own websites, with professional lighting, performers, and photographers, without providing a hat tip to the originals. Basically, it’s the mainstream equivalent of Beyonce covering a wildly popular YouTube meme like “The Fox,” without crediting Ylvis.

The first person to spot this trend was an eagle-eyed commenter on 4chan, who posted the following on a /b/ thread earlier this week:

Greetings gentlemen.

I believe that I have discovered a new Pornography phenomena – what one might even be quick to label a "conspiracy" – wherein certain commercial Pornographers will re-enact popular "amateur" photos with professional models in an attempt to capitalize on the subconscious wish that more images exist within a "series" of images for which the original "sauce" has hitherto been unknown.

The masturbator, presumably, would be unwittingly lured in to subscribing to the commercial website under the pretense that "moar" images exist of the "amateurs" portrayed, only to realize later on that the "new" images in the series are the product of paid professionals and not, much to his disappointment, the "amateurs" in the original photographs both discovered and enjoyed in the days of yore.

He attached two photos as proof (you can see them and other NSFW examples here.)

In one photo a young brunette girl having sex with a shaggy-haired boy while a friend looks on. This is the “amateur” version. It was copied almost exactly in the “professional” version, right down to the clothing, body positions, and background.

The thread was reposted to r/4chan with a series of side-by-side comparisons under the title “Pornspiracy.”

The photos look so much alike it’s hard to attribute the similarities to mere coincidence. According to Farrell Timlake, the founder of amateur site Homegrown Video Adult, they’re actually intentional copies.

“What’s going on is a couple of the big super-sites like Bang Brothers, they look at a trending photo and figure out if something’s reached a certain popularity level, then they’re taking the image and simulating it as closely as possible so they can ride the wave of its popularity,” Timlake said. “It’s not necessarily revenge porn, because they’re not holding these photos hostage. They’re just expanding on a fantasy people have when they see these sexy, but pretty tame, snapshots, and making them more explicit.”

It’s up for debate whether these professional ripoffs could face copyright issues, or if they’re just uncreative.

Amateur porn is one of the most popular subgenres of adult content, with analytics website PornMD ranking it the 6th most searched-for term in the world (the popularity of amateur content is part of what spurred the creation of revenge porn, which, thanks to sites like Hunter Moore’s Is Anyone Up? has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years).

So-called “reality porn” websites like GFRevenge.com (which did not respond to requests for comment) attempt to capitalize on the homemade, girl-next-door appeal of amateur porn by combining it with the glossy, polished, raunchier aesthetic of professional porn.

“Blurring that line between amateur and pro serves their purposes best, because it drives traffic to their sites,” Timlake said.

So is this trend of duplicating amateur porn photos part of a wider “pornspiracy?” Or, more likely, is it just good old-fashioned clickbait marketing. In some ways, it’s no different than what sites like Buzzfeed and HuffPo have been doing for years: taking old, popular content, trussing it up, and repackaging it to make it seem sexy and new.

H/T 4chan | Photo by Emergency Brake/Flickr (CC by 2.0)