The Regulation of Internet Pornography : Issues and Challenges book cover
1st Edition

The Regulation of Internet Pornography
Issues and Challenges

ISBN 9780415745772
Published November 5, 2018 by Routledge
234 Pages

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents




Chapter 1 Internet pornography: issues and challenges


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


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


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



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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.