Legal aspects of Internet pornography

Due to the international nature of the Internet, Internet pornography carries with it special issues with regard to the law. There is no one set of laws that apply to the distribution, purchase, or possession of Internet pornography. Only the laws of one’s home nation apply with regard to distributing or possessing Internet pornography. This means that, for example, even if a pornographer is legally distributing pornography, the person receiving it may not be legally doing so due to local laws. 

Many nations that allow at least some types of pornography attempt to ensure that those under their legal age for accessing porn (often 18 or 21) cannot easily access it. Various measures have been tried but with varying success. Within the United States, most websites have taken voluntary steps to ensure that visitors to their sites are not underage.

Many websites provide a warning upon entry, warning minors and those not interested in viewing porn not to view the site, and requiring one to affirm that one is at least 18 and wishing to view pornographic content. Such warning pages have little effect in preventing access by minors to porn, as any minor interested in viewing the site can simply click on the “I am an adult over 18” button without having to prove his or her age. Thus, such warnings are generally not used by themselves but with other techniques.

Commercial porn sites generally do not restrict access to any pornographic content until a membership has been purchased using a credit card, as most have explicit ‘free trial’ content as a major part of their sales strategy. So-called age verification services have also sprung up that offer access to any Web site that participates in their program without additional charge. The users need only verify their age with the verification service, which then issues a username and password that can access all sites that use its services. Most age verification sites charge either a monthly or yearly fee to those wanting access to participating sites.

Within nations that allow at least some types of pornography, models are often required to be at least a specific age (18 is most common). Various nations have various rules as to how a site must ensure that all porn models featured on it are of age such as strict record-keeping laws.

Pornography is very harmful especially to kids and teenagers. These days we spend most of our free time online and the possibility of coming across a naked picture or something profane is very high and hence, it will be very good if the government bans pornography and pornographic materials.

A distinction is often made between erotica (the portrayal of sexuality with high-art aspirations, focusing also on feelings and emotions) and pornography (the depiction of acts in a sensational manner, with the entire focus on the physical act, so as to arouse quick intense reactions). Pornography has often been subject to censorship and legal restraints on publication on grounds of obscenity. Such grounds and the very definition of what is or is not pornography have differed in different historical, cultural, and national contexts.