Pornography and the New Media Essay

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Pornography and New Media Pornography, depending on how one defines it, has existed for thousands of years in the forms of picture, sculpture, performance, and writing. Over the centuries the advent of new media has broadened the flow of distribution of pornography and erotica to the masses, making it readily accessible. From the printing press, to photography, to film, each new medium has provoked a call for censorship from concerned citizens during the early stages of its existence. Pornography has taken major steps, particularly in the last fifty years: Playboy, the first magazine of its type, produced its first issue in 1955; pornographic film gained widespread popularity in the 1970's; the invention of the VCR allowed consumers to…show more content…
Because Internet cannot be contained within states, or even countries, there is little the government can do to control content without hindering first amendment rights, despite past attempts.
The most aggressive attempt at internet control was made in 1996 with the development of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) which proposed to make it illegal to send "indecent material by the Internet into others computers" (Wilkins 1996). While the bill passed through congress quickly, it was immediately attacked as unconstitutional under the first amendment. The famous case of Reno v. ACLU, the Supreme Court ruled that the act was unconstitutional and the law was never put into place. The primary argument being that, while the CDA aimed to protect people, particularly minors, from exposure to pornographic material, it could not do so without impinging on adults' freedom of speech (Wilkins, 1996). Preexisting laws pertaining to obscenity and child pornography, neither of which is protected by the first amendment, were broadened to include the Internet. Even in that case, however, enforcement of the law is extremely difficult given the nature of the medium. Charles Hogg notes, "In the meantime, the most offensive of the material remains illegal in the United States, and problems with this material on the Internet remain a matter of enforcement rather than a matter of legality" (Hogg, 1999). The use of Internet pornography needs to
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