Akdeniz, Yaman "Governance of Pornography and Child Pornography on the Global Internet: A Multi-Layered Approach," in Edwards, L and Waelde, C eds, Law and the Internet: Regulating Cyberspace, Hart Publishing, 1997, pp 223-241. Introduction The availability of pornographic content on the Internet The governance of the Internet Overview of UK pornography laws Obscene Publications Act 19 Child pornography UK child pornography laws Protection of Children Act 1978 Section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 Operation Starburst Possession offences Distribution offences Fellows and Arnold: The Birmingham University Case US attempts to regulate the Internet - the Communications Decency Act 1996 (CDA) Legal challenges to the CDA Developments within the European Union Responsibility of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) Self- regulation by ISPs - the Internet Watch Foundation UK police censorship of Internet newsgroups Technical solutions and rating systems Parental control software Conclusion Copyright 1997, 1998 Yaman Akdeniz.
Student at the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, Law Faculty, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT. For further information see 1997-2000, Yaman Akdeniz.
"Law and the Internet" (ISBN 1-901362-30-2) can be ordered direct from Richard Hart Publishing at a cost of 25.00 per copy, plus 3.00 postage and packing for the first copy and 1.00 for any subsequent copies.
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What is considered simply sexually explicit but not obscene in England may well be obscene in many other countries; conversely what is considered lawful but not pornographic in Sweden may well be obscene under the current UK legislation.
This chapter will discuss two different issues: the regulation of potentially harmful content such as pornography on the Internet; and regulation of invariably illegal content such as child pornography.
These issues are different in nature and should not be confused.
It is the submission of this paper that any regulatory action intended to protect a certain group of people, such as children, should not take the form of an unconditional prohibition of using the Internet to distribute certain content where that is freely available to adults in other media.
Before explaining the possibilities of how to govern the availability of pornographic content on the global Internet, I will briefly discuss how and in what form these materials are available on the Internet.
The availability of pornographic content on the Internet Pornography on the Internet is available in different formats.
These range from pictures and short animated movies, to sound files and stories.
The widespread availability of pornography on the Internet has stirred up a moral panic(1) shared by the government, law enforcement bodies such as the police, prosecutors and judges along with the media in general.(2) There have been many attempts to limit the availability of pornographic content on the Internet by governments and law enforcement bodies all around the world.
While the US Government introduced the Communications Decency Act 1996 ( CDA), the UK police attempted to censor Usenet discussion groups allegedly carrying child pornography in the summer of 1996.