Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. January Learn how and when to remove this template message Before the World Wide Web Pornography is regarded by some as one of the driving forces behind the expansion of the World Wide Web, like the camcorder VCR and cable television before it.
This was possible in the late '80s and early '90s through the use of anonymous FTP servers and through the Gopher protocol. At this time the internet was mainly an academic and military network and there was not widespread use of the internet.
This small image archive contained some low quality scanned pornographic images that were initially available to anyone anonymously, but the site soon became restricted to Netherlands only access. Usenet Groups Usenet newsgroups provided an early way of sharing images over the narrow bandwidth available in the early s.
Because of the network restrictions of the time, images had to be encoded as ascii text and then broken into sections before being posted to the Alt. These files could then be downloaded and then reassembled before being decoded back to an image. Automated software such as Aub Assemble Usenet Binaries allowed the automatic download and assembly of the images from a newsgroup. There was a rapid growth in the number of posts in the early s but image quality was restricted by the size of files that could be posted.
The method was also used to disseminate pornographic images, which were usually scanned from adult magazines. This type of distribution was generally free apart from fees for Internet access , and provided a great deal of anonymity.
The anonymity made it safe and easy to ignore copyright restrictions, as well as protecting the identity of uploaders and downloaders. Around this time frame, pornography was also distributed via pornographic Bulletin Board Systems such as Rusty n Edie's.
These BBSes could charge users for access, leading to the first commercial online pornography. Defending Free Speech in the Digital Age. The invention of the World Wide Web spurred both commercial and non-commercial distribution of pornography.
The rise of pornography websites offering photos, video clips and streaming media including live webcam access allowed greater access to pornography. The bandwidth usage of a pornography site is relatively high, and the income a free site can earn through advertising may not be sufficient to cover the costs of that bandwidth.
One recent entry into the free pornography website market are Thumbnail gallery post sites. These are free websites that post links to commercial sites, providing a sampling of the commercial site in the form of thumbnail images, or in the form of Free Hosted Galleries —samplings of full-sized content provided and hosted by the commercial sites to promote their site. Some free websites primarily serve as portals by keeping up-to-date indexes of these smaller sampler sites.
These intents to create directories about adult content and websites were followed by the creation of adult wikis where the user can contribute their knowledge and recommend quality resources and links.
When a user purchases a subscription to a commercial site after clicking through from a free thumbnail gallery site, the commercial site makes a payment to the owner of the free site. There are several forms of sites delivering adult content.
These sites are called a Thumbnail gallery post TGP. As a rule, these sites sort thumbs by category and type of content available on a linked gallery. The most abusive form of TGP is the so-called CJ abbreviation for circlejerk , that contains links that mislead the surfer to sites he or she actually didn't wish to see.
This is also called a redirect. It's still a question which form is more descriptive to a surfer, but many webmasters cite a trend that thumbs are much more productive, and simplify searching. On the other hand, LinkLists have a larger amount of unique text, so that helps them to improve their positions in search engine listings.
TopLists are linklists whose internal ranking of freesites is based on incoming traffic from those freesites, except that freesites designed for TopLists have many more galleries.
Usenet Another free source of pornography on the Internet are the Usenet newsgroups that were the first home to such material. Newsgroups tend to be poorly organized and flooded with content that is off-topic or spam.
Commercial software and websites are available that allow browsing the images or videos on newsgroups, sometimes with galleries of thumbnail images. Peer-to-peer Peer-to-peer file sharing networks provide another form of free access to pornography.
While such networks have been associated largely with the illegal sharing of copyrighted music and movies, the sharing of pornography has also been a popular use for file sharing. Many commercial sites have recognized this trend and have begun distributing free samples of their content on peer-to-peer networks. Men and women viewers As of the majority of viewers of online pornography were men; women tended to prefer romance novels and erotic fan fiction.
Subscribers with female names were flagged as signs of potential credit card fraud , because "so many of these charges result in an angry wife or mother demanding a refund for the misuse of her card. The JPEG format is one of the most common format for these images. Another format is GIF which may provide an animated image where the people in the picture move. It often lasts for only a second or two then reruns repeats indefinitely.
If the position of the objects in the last frame is about the same as the first frame, there is the illusion of continuous action. Many commercial porn sites exist that allow one to view pornographic streaming video. Since mid, advertising-supported free pornographic video hosting service websites based on the YouTube concept have appeared.
Referred to as Porn 2. Webcam model Another format of adult content that emerged with the advent of the Internet is live webcams. Webcam content can generally be divided into two categories: Server-based webcam sex shows spur unique international economics: This kind of activity is sometimes mediated by companies which will set up websites and manage finances. They may maintain "office" space for the models to perform from, or they provide the interface for models to work at home, with their own computer with webcam.
While pornographic and erotic stories, distributed as text files , web pages, and via message boards and newsgroups, have been semi-popular, audio porn, via formats like MP3 and FLV , have seen only very limited distribution.
Audio porn can include recordings of people having sex or reading erotic stories. Pornographic magazines are available in Zinio format, which provides a reader program to enable access. Combination formats, such as webteases that consist of images and text have also emerged.
Legal status The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. You may improve this article , discuss the issue on the talk page , or create a new article , as appropriate. December Main article: Legal status of Internet pornography The Internet is an international network and there are currently no international laws regulating pornography; each country deals with Internet pornography differently.
Generally, in the United States, if the act depicted in the pornographic content is legal in the jurisdiction that it is being distributed from then the distributor of such content would not be in violation of the law regardless of whether it is accessible in countries where it is illegal.
This does not apply to those who access the pornography, however, as they could still be prosecuted under local laws in their country. Due to enforcement problems in anti-pornography laws over the Internet, countries that prohibit or heavily restrict access to pornography have taken other approaches to limit access by their citizens, such as employing content filters.
Many activists and politicians have expressed concern over the easy availability of Internet pornography, especially to minors. This has led to a variety of attempts to restrict children's access to Internet pornography such as the Communications Decency Act in the United States. This label is recognized by many web filtering products and is entirely free to use.
Most employers have distinct policies against the accessing of any kind of online pornographic material from company computers,[ citation needed ] in addition to which some have also installed comprehensive filters and logging software in their local computer networks.
One area of Internet pornography that has been the target of the strongest efforts at curtailment is child pornography. Because of this, most Internet pornography websites based in the U. Some site operators outside the U. On April 8, Evil Angel and its owner John Stagliano were charged in federal court with multiple counts of obscenity.
One count was for, "using an interactive computer service to display an obscene movie trailer in a manner available to a person under 18 years of age. Various work-arounds and bypasses are available for some of these products; Peacefire is one of the more notable clearinghouses for such countermeasures.
Child pornography Main article: Child pornography The Internet has radically changed how child pornography is reproduced and disseminated, and, according to the United States Department of Justice , resulted in a massive increase in the "availability, accessibility, and volume of child pornography. It later updated this information, in subsequent editions, to include UN member countries.
Further, much of the trade in child pornography takes place at hidden levels of the Internet. It has been estimated that between 50, and , pedophiles are involved in organized pornography rings around the world, and that one third of them operate from the United States.
Digital cameras and Internet distribution facilitated by the use of credit cards and the ease of transferring images across national borders has made it easier than ever before for users of child pornography to obtain the photographs and videos. The CEO stated "The worrying issue is the severity and the gravity of the images is increasing.
We're talking about prepubescent children being raped. Prosecution is difficult because multiple international servers are used, sometimes to transmit the images in fragments to evade the law.