Internet pornography

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Internet pornography is pornography that is distributed by means of various sectors of the Internet, primarily via websites, peer-to-peer file sharing, or Usenet newsgroups. While pornography had been traded over the Internet since the 1980s, it was the invention of the World Wide Web in 1991 as well as the opening of the Internet to the general public around the same time that led to an explosion in online pornography.

Like videotapes and DVDs, the Internet has proved popular for distributing pornography because it allows people to view pornography more or less anonymously in the comfort and privacy of their homes. It also allows access to pornography by people whose access is otherwise restricted for legal or social reasons.


History and methods of distribution

Before the World Wide Web

Pornography is often considered as one of the driving forces behind the early expansion of the world wide web. Pornographic images had been transmitted over the Internet as ASCII porn but to send images over network needed computers with graphics capability and also higher network bandwidth. This was possible in the late '80s and early '90s through the use of anonymous FTP servers and through Gopher. At this time the internet was mainly an academic and military network and there was not widespread use of the internet. One of the early Gopher/FTP sites was at tudelft and was called the Digital Archive on the 17th Floor (List of websites founded before 1995). 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.

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