1st Edition

The Regulation of Internet Pornography Issues and Challenges

By Abhilash Nair Copyright 2019
    234 Pages
    by Routledge

    234 Pages
    by Routledge

    The regulation of pornography has always been a contentious issue, which has sparked wide-ranging debates surrounding the acceptability and place of pornography in society. The use of the internet to distribute and access pornography has magnified this debate and has presented a number of challenges for the law in terms of effective and proportionate regulation. Following unsuccessful attempts by states to transpose traditional laws to cyberspace, a new and radical regulatory framework eventually evolved for regulating internet pornography. In this process, the focus of the law has changed from merely controlling the publication and distribution of obscene material to a model that aims to deter private consumption of illegal content. In addition, various self- and co-regulatory initiatives have been introduced with the involvement of non-state actors, imposing a certain degree of de facto liability on intermediaries, all of which raise interesting issues.

    This book examines the relevant regulatory responses to internet pornography, with particular reference to the UK, but also drawing comparisons with other countries where relevant. It argues that the internet has fundamentally, and in many ways irreversibly, changed the regulation of pornography. Classifying internet pornography into three broad categories – child pornography, extreme pornography, and adult pornography – the book provides an in-depth analysis of the legal issues involved in regulating internet pornography, and argues that the notions of obscenity and indecency on their own will not provide an adequate basis for regulating online pornography. The book identifies the legitimising factors that will lend credibility and normative force to the law in order to successfully regulate pornography in cyberspace. It is the only comprehensive text that rigorously addresses the regulation of internet pornography as a whole, and offers valuable insights that will appeal to academics, students, policy makers, and those working in the areas of broader internet governance and online child protection.




    Chapter 1 Internet pornography: issues and challenges

    PART 1

    Chapter 2 Online child pornography: Preliminary considerations

    Child pornography and the internet

    Jurisdictional issues

    Who is a child? The age (old) problem

    Chapter 3 Transformation of child pornography laws

    International Initiatives

    National Law

    Evolution of Child Pornography Laws

    Production and Distribution


    Rationale of Possession Offences

    Webcam Performance and Live Streaming

    Self-generated Pornography and ‘Sexting’

    Concluding Thoughts

    Chapter 4 Virtual child pornography

    Legal Responses

    U.K.: Criminalising Possession

    U.S.:  Ashcroft v Free Speech Coalition

    Future of Regulation

    Chapter 5 Enforcement of child pornography laws

    Regulation and Non-State Actors

    Criticisms of ‘Self-Regulation’

    Fair Regulation

    PART 2

    Chapter 6 Extreme pornography


    The Law

    Criminalising Possession

    Demand and Supply


    Morality, Disgust, and Offence

    Individual Freedoms

    Power Imbalance: State v/s the Individual

    Taking the Burden Away from the Consumer

    PART 3

    Chapter 7 Adult pornography


    Regulating Obscenity: United Kingdom

    United States: Pioneer and the Problem

    Regulating for Child Protection

    New Regulatory Models

    Staying Focused on Access Control

    ‘Revenge Pornography’ and other Issues

    Concluding Remarks


    Chapter 8 Regulating internet pornography




    Abhilash Nair is Senior Lecturer in Internet Law at Aston University, Birmingham. He has published widely in the area of internet pornography, and has advised various international and national bodies on regulating illegal content, content-related cybercrime and online child safety laws. He is a member of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) Evidence Working group, and Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Law and Technology.