Pornography laws by region

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World map of pornography laws:
  Generally legal with certain extreme exceptions
  Partially legal, under some broad restrictions, or ambiguous status
  Illegal
  Data unavailable

The production and distribution of pornographic films are both activities that are lawful in many, but by no means all, countries so long as the pornography features performers aged above a certain age, usually eighteen years. Further restrictions are often placed on such material.

Table

Country/territory Sale Possession Internet pornography Penalty Notes
Abkhazia Abkhazia Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Afghanistan Afghanistan Illegal Uncertain Legal Uncertain [1]
Albania Albania Uncertain Uncertain Legal Uncertain
Algeria Algeria Illegal Illegal Legal Uncertain
Andorra Andorra Legal Legal Legal
Argentina Argentina Legal Legal Legal
Armenia Armenia Illegal Legal Legal
Article 263. (Illegal dissemination of pornographic materials or items)
Illegal manufacture, sale as well as, dissemination of pornographic materials or items, as well as, printed publications, films and videos, images or other pornographic objects, and advertising, is punished with a fine in the amount of 200 to 400 minimal salaries, or with arrest for the term of up to 2 months, or with imprisonment for the term of up to 2 years
Australia Australia Illegal in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, New South Wales, Tasmania, and Queensland. Legal in Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory Legal Restricted
Austria Austria Legal Legal Legal
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan Legal Legal Legal
The Bahamas Bahamas Illegal Uncertain Legal Uncertain
Bahrain Bahrain Illegal Uncertain Blocked Uncertain [2]
Bangladesh Bangladesh Illegal Illegal Blocked Up to 10 years in jail and 500 Thousand Taka fine
Belarus Belarus Illegal Legal Uncertain Up to four years in prison
Belize Belize Illegal Legal Legal
Article 323. (Obscene publication)
  1. Every person who publishes or offers for sale any obscene book, writing or representation, shall be liable to imprisonment for two years.
Bhutan Bhutan Illegal Legal Sites blocked occasionally
Article 381. (Lewd and lascivious conduct )

A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of lewd and lascivious conduct, if the defendant:

(b) Sells, manufactures, issues, distributes, displays or otherwise deals in obscene material.
Article 476. (Computer pornography )

A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of computer pornography, if the defendant:
(a) Publishes and distributes an obscene photograph or picture on the computer or over the internet; or

(b) Is an internet service provider, who knowingly acts as a host for pornographic material or acts as a channel for the image to be transmitted to an individual user.
[3]
Belgium Belgium Legal Legal Legal
Benin Benin Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Botswana Botswana Illegal Illegal Legal Uncertain [4]
Brazil Brazil Legal Legal Legal
Brunei Brunei Illegal Illegal Uncertain
Article 292. (Sale etc. of obscene articles)
  1. Whoever sells, lets to hire, distributes, publicly exhibits or in any manner puts into circulation, or for purposes of sale, hire distribution, public exhibition or circulation makes, produces or has in his possession any obscene article shall be guilty of an offence and shall be punished with a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $5,000 and imprisonment which may extend to 2 years; and in the case of a second or subsequent conviction, a fine of not less than $1,000 and not more than $30,000 and imprisonment which may extend to 5 years.
Bulgaria Bulgaria Illegal Legal Legal
Article 159.
  1. A person who produces, displays, presents, broadcasts, distributes, sells, rents or otherwise circulates a pornographic material, shall be punished by deprivation of liberty of up to one year and a fine of BGN one thousand (1,000) to three thousand (3,000).
Burkina Faso Burkina Faso Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Burundi Burundi Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Cameroon Cameroon Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Canada Canada Legal Legal Legal
Central African Republic Central African Republic Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
China People's Republic of China Illegal Restricted Blocked Uncertain [5]
Egypt Egypt Illegal Illegal Blocked (not fully implemented) Uncertain [6]
Republic of the Congo Republic of Congo Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Ivory Coast Ivory Coast Illegal Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Comoros Comoros Illegal Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Croatia Croatia Legal Legal Legal
Czech Republic Czech Republic Legal Legal Legal
Denmark Denmark Legal Legal Legal See: Pornography in Denmark
Djibouti Djibouti Illegal Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Ecuador Ecuador Legal Legal Legal
Equatorial Guinea Equatorial Guinea Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Eritrea Eritrea Illegal Legal Uncertain
Article 313. (Obscene or Indecent Publications)
  1. A person who publicly distributes, displays or traffics in writings, images, posters, films, objects or other communications that are obscene or grossly indecent, is guilty of obscenity, a Class 1 petty offence, punishable with a definite term of imprisonment of not less than 6 months and not more than 12 months, or a fine of 20,001 – 50,000 Nakfas, to be set in intervals of 2,500 Nakfas.
  2. It is not an offence under sub-Article (1) where the conduct takes place in private, or where the material is artistic, literary or scientific in character.
Estonia Estonia Legal Legal Legal
Ethiopia Ethiopia Illegal Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Finland Finland Legal Legal Legal
France France Legal Legal Legal
Gabon Gabon Illegal Uncertain legal Uncertain
The Gambia Gambia Illegal Uncertain Legal
Section 144B.
(2) A person who produces or participates in the production of, or trafficks in, publishes, broadcasts, procures, imports, exports or in any way abets pornography contrary to subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of not less than twenty thousand dalasis or imprisonment not exceeding ten years or both.
State of Palestine Gaza Strip Uncertain Uncertain Blocked Uncertain [7]
Georgia (country) Georgia Uncertain Uncertain Legal Uncertain
Germany Germany Legal Legal Legal
Ghana Ghana Illegal Illegal Legal
Article 281. (Further Offences Relating to Obscenity)
  1. Any person who:

(a) for the purposes of or by way of trade, or for the purposes of distribution or public exhibition, makes, produces, or has in his possession any one or more obscene writings, drawings, prints, paintings, printed matter, pictures, posters, emblems, photographs, cinematograph films, or any other obscene objects [...]

shall be guilty of a misdemeanour.
Greece Greece Legal Legal Legal
Greenland Greenland Legal Legal Legal
Guinea Guinea Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Guinea-Bissau Guinea-Bissau Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Guyana Guyana Illegal Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Hong Kong Hong Kong Restricted Legal Legal
Hungary Hungary Legal Legal Legal
Iceland Iceland Illegal Legal Legal Uncertain
India India Illegal Legal Some sites blocked (depending on ISP) Uncertain
Indonesia Indonesia Illegal Illegal Blocked Uncertain [8]
Iran Iran Illegal Illegal Blocked Uncertain [9]
Iraq Iraq Illegal Illegal Legal
Article 403. (: Immodest and shameful acts)
  1. Any person who produces, imports, publishes, possesses, obtains or translates a book, printed or other written material, drawing, picture, film, symbol or other thing that violates the public integrity or decency with intent to exploit or distribute such material is punishable by a period of detention not exceeding 2 years plus a fine not exceeding 200 dinars or by one of those penalties
[10]
Republic of Ireland Ireland Legal Legal Legal
Israel Israel (excluding Palestinian territories) Legal Legal Legal
Italy Italy Legal Legal Legal
Jamaica Jamaica Legal Legal Uncertain Uncertain
Japan Japan Restricted Legal Restricted
Jordan Jordan Illegal Uncertain Uncertain
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Kenya Kenya Illegal Illegal Legal
Article 166. (Traffic in obscene publication)
  1. Any person who:

(a) for the purpose of or by way of trade or for the purpose of distribution or public exhibition, makes, produces or has in his possession any one or more obscene writings, drawings, prints, paintings, printed matter, pictures, posters, emblems, photographs, cinematograph -films or any other objects or any other object tending to corrupt morals [...]

is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable, to imprisonment for two years or to a fine of seven thousand shillings.
Kiribati Kiribati Illegal Illegal Uncertain
Article 166. (Traffic in obscene publication)
  1. Any person who:

(a) for the purpose of or by way of trade or for the purpose of distribution or public exhibition, makes, produces or has in his possession any one or more obscene writings, drawings, prints, paintings, printed matter, pictures, posters, emblems, photographs, cinematograph -films or any other objects or any other object tending to corrupt morals [...]

is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable, to imprisonment for two years or to a fine of two hundred dollars.
Kosovo Kosovo Legal Legal Legal
Kuwait Kuwait Illegal Illegal Blocked Uncertain [11]
Laos Laos Illegal Legal Legal
Article 138. (Dissemination of Pornographic Objects and Objects Contrary to Fine Traditions)
  1. Any person engaging in the widespread production, distribution, or dissemination of pornographic items, magazines, pictures, video cassettes and other materials contrary to fine traditions shall be punished by three months to one year of imprisonment and shall be fined from 200,000 Kip to 5,000,000 Kip.
Lebanon Lebanon Illegal Uncertain Legal Uncertain
Lesotho Lesotho Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Liberia Liberia Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Libya Libya Illegal Illegal Legal Uncertain
Lithuania Lithuania Illegal Legal Uncertain
Article 309. (Possession of Pornographic Material)
  1. A person who, for the purpose of distribution, produces or acquires pornographic material or distributes such material shall be punished by community service or by a fine or by restriction of liberty or by imprisonment for a term of up to one year.
Luxembourg Luxembourg Legal Legal Legal
Macau Macau Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Madagascar Madagascar Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Malaysia Malaysia Illegal Illegal Blocked Up to 5 years in jail [12]
Maldives Maldives Illegal Illegal Uncertain
Article 622. (Producing or Distributing Obscene Material)
  1. A person commits an offense if, with knowledge
of its obscene nature or content, he:

(1) Sells, delivers, or provides one or more obscene writings, pictures, records, or other representations or embodiments of the obscene; or

[...]

(6) Creates, buys, procures, or possesses obscene matter or material with the purpose of distributing it in violation of this Section. [...]

The offenses in Subsections (a)(1) through (a)(6) are Class 1 misdemeanors.
See: Pornography in the Maldives
Mali Mali Illegal Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Mauritania Mauritania Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Mauritius Mauritius Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Mexico Mexico Legal Legal Legal
Monaco Monaco Legal Legal Legal
Mongolia Mongolia Illegal Legal Legal
Article 123. (Advertising and dissemination of pornography and prostitution)
  1. W Preparation, dissemination, sale, display to the public, crossing of the state frontier of the press, literature, films, video tapes and other items advertising pornography shall be punishable by a fine equal to 31 to 50 amounts of minimum salary or by incarceration for a term of 1 to 3 months.
Morocco Morocco Illegal Illegal Legal Uncertain
Mozambique Mozambique Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Republic of Artsakh Nagorno-Karabakh Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Namibia Namibia Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Nepal Nepal Illegal Uncertain Blocked [13]
Netherlands Netherlands (including all territories) Legal Legal Legal
New Zealand New Zealand (including all territories) Legal Legal Legal
Niger Niger Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Nigeria Nigeria Illegal (but enforcement is light} Uncertain Legal Uncertain
North Korea North Korea Illegal Illegal Blocked Uncertain [14]
Northern Cyprus Northern Cyprus Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Norway Norway (including all territories) Legal Legal Legal
Oman Oman Illegal Illegal Blocked Uncertain [15]
Pakistan Pakistan Illegal Illegal Blocked Uncertain [16]
Palau Palau Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
State of Palestine Palestine Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea Illegal Illegal Blocked Up to 6 months' imprisonment and/or a fine up to 100,000 Papua New Guinean kina
Philippines Philippines Illegal Uncertain Some sites blocked (depending on ISP) Uncertain
Poland Poland Legal Legal Legal
Portugal Portugal Legal Legal Legal
Qatar Qatar Illegal Ilegal Blocked
Article 292. (Sale of obscene books, etc.)
  1. Whoever produces, imports, exports, possesses or transports immoral books, prints, writings, drawings, photos, movies or symbols for the purpose of exploitation, distribution or display shall be punished with imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year and/or a fine not exceeding five thousand Qatari Riyals (QR 5.000).
[17]
Romania Romania Legal Legal Legal
Russia Russia Restricted Legal Some sites blocked Uncertain
Rwanda Rwanda Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
São Tomé and Príncipe São Tomé and Príncipe Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia Illegal Illegal Blocked [18]
Senegal Senegal Illegal Uncertain Legal Uncertain
Sierra Leone Sierra Leone Illegal Uncertain Legal Uncertain
Singapore Singapore Illegal Uncertain Some sites blocked
Article 292. (Sale of obscene books, etc.)
  1. Whoever sells, lets to hire, distributes, transmits by electronic means, publicly exhibits or in any manner puts into circulation, or for purposes of sale, hire, distribution, transmission, public exhibition or circulation, makes, produces, or has in his possession any obscene book, pamphlet, paper, drawing, painting, representation or figure, or any other obscene object whatsoever shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 months, or with fine, or with both.
[19]
Slovakia Slovakia Legal Legal Legal
Slovenia Slovenia Legal Legal Legal
Solomon Islands Solomon Islands Illegal Illegal Uncertain
Article 173. (Traffic in obscene publication)
  1. Any person who:

(a) for the purpose of or by way of trade or for the purpose of distribution or public exhibition, makes, produces or has in his possession any one or more obscene writings, drawings, prints, paintings, printed matter, pictures, posters, emblems, photographs, cinematograph -films or any other objects or any other object tending to corrupt morals [...]

is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable, to imprisonment for two years or to a fine of two hundred dollars.
Somalia Somalia Illegal Uncertain Legal Uncertain
Somaliland Somaliland Illegal Illegal Uncertain
Article 403. (Obscene Publications and Persofrmances)
  1. Whoever for purposes of sales and distribution, or public exhibition, manufactures, introduces into territory of the State, purchases, holds, exports or puts into circulation any obscene paper, drawing, representation or any other obscene object of any nature should be punished with imprisonment from three months to three years and with fine of not less than Sh. So. 1000.
South Africa South Africa Restricted Legal Legal
South Korea South Korea Illegal Legal Blocked Uncertain
South Ossetia South Ossetia Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
South Sudan South Sudan Illegal Legal Uncertain
Article 260. (Sale of Obscene Books etc.)
  1. Whoever, sells, distributes, imports or prints, or makes for sale or hire or willfully exhibits to public view any obscene writing, book, newspaper, film, gramophone record or similar article, drawing, painting, representation or figure or attempts or offers so to do or has in his or her possession any such obscene book or other thing for the purpose of sale, distribution or public exhibition, commits an offence, and upon conviction, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or with a fine or with both.
Spain Spain Legal Legal Legal
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka Illegal May be punished Uncertain
Article 285. (Sale, &c. of obscene books .&c.)
  1. Whoever sells or distributes, imports, or prints for sale or hire, or wilfully exhibits to public view, any obscene book, pamphlet, paper, drawing, painting, photograph, representation, or figure, or attempts or offers so to do, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine, or with both.
Article 286. (Having in possession obscene books, &c for sale or public exhibition. )
  1. Whoever has in his possession any such obscene book or other thing as is mentioned in the last preceding section for the purpose of sale, distribution, or public exhibition, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months. Or with fine, or with both.
Sweden Sweden Legal Legal Legal
Switzerland Switzerland Legal Legal Legal
Sudan Sudan Illegal Illegal Blocked
Article 235. (Sale etc. of Obscene Books etc)
  1. Whoever sells or distributes, imports or prints, or makes for sale or hire or willfully exhibits to public view any obscene writing, book, newspaper, film, gramophone record or similar article, drawing, painting, representation or figure or attempts or offers so to do or has in his possession any such obscene book or other thing for the purpose of sale, distribution or public exhibition, commits an offence and shall on conviction, be punished with imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or with fine or with both.
[20]
Syria Syria Illegal Uncertain Blocked Uncertain [21]
Taiwan Taiwan Uncertain Uncertain Legal Uncertain
Tanzania Tanzania Illegal Illegal Uncertain
Article 175.
  1. Any person who:

(a) for the purpose of or by way of trade or for the purpose of distribution or public exhibition, makes, produces or has in his possession any one or more obscene writings, drawings, prints, paintings, printed matter, pictures» posters, emblems, photographs, cinematograph -films or any other objects or any other object tending to corrupt morals [...]

is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable, to imprisonment for two years or to a fine of two thousand shillings.
Thailand Thailand Illegal Illegal Blocked
Section 287.
  1. Whoever for the purpose of trade or by trade, for public distribution or exhibition, makes, produces, possesses, brings or causes to be brought into the Kingdom, sends or causes to be sent out of the Kingdom, takes away or causes to be taken away, or circulates by any means whatever, any document, drawing, print, painting, printed matter, picture, poster, symbol, photograph, cinematograph film, noise tape, picture tape or any other thing which is obscene [...] shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding three years or fined not exceeding six thousand Baht, or both.
[22]
Togo Togo Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Transnistria Transnistria Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Turkey Turkey Restricted Restricted Blocked
Turkmenistan Turkmenistan Uncertain Uncertain Blocked Uncertain
Uganda Uganda Illegal Illegal Some sites blocked Uncertain [23]
Ukraine Ukraine Illegal Legal Legal
Article 301. (Importation, making, sale or distribution of pornographic items)
  1. Importation into Ukraine for sale or distribution purposes, or making, transportation or other movement for the same purposes, or sale or distribution of pornographic images or other items, and also compelling others to participate in their making, shall be punishable by a fine of 50 to 100 tax-free minimum incomes, or arrest for a term up to six months, or restraint of liberty for a term up to three years, with the forfeiture of pornographic images or other items and means of their making and distribution.
United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates Illegal Ilegal Blocked Uncertain
United Kingdom United Kingdom Restricted Legal Restricted Uncertain
United States United States Legal Legal Legal
Uruguay Uruguay Legal Legal Legal
Venezuela Venezuela Legal Legal Some sites blocked Uncertain
Vietnam Vietnam Illegal May be punished Uncertain
Article 326. (Distribution pornographic materials)
  1. Any person who makes, duplicates, publishes, transports, deals in, or stores books, magazines, pictures, films, music, or other items that contain pornographic contents for the purpose of distributing them or distributes pornographic materials in any of the following cases shall be a fine of from VND 10,000,000 to VND 100,000,000 or face a penalty of up to 03 years' community sentence or 06 - 36 months' imprisonment
Western Sahara Western Sahara Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Yemen Yemen Illegal Illegal Blocked Uncertain [24]
Zambia Zambia Illegal Illegal Legal
Article 177. (Obscene matters or things)
  1. Any person who makes, produces or has in his possession any one or more obscene writings, drawings, prints, paintings, printed matter, pictures, posters, emblems, photographs, cinematograph films or any other object tending to corrupt morals is guilty of a misdemeanour and is liable to imprisonment for five years or to a fine of not
less than fifteen thousand penalty units nor more than seventy-five thousand penalty units.
[25]
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Uncertain Uncertain Legal Uncertain

Africa

Botswana

The possession of "Indecent and obscene material such as pornographic books, magazines, films, videos, DVDs and software" is prohibited in Botswana. Possession or import of such material is illegal and punishable by a fine or up to 4 years' imprisonment.[26]

Egypt

In Egypt, it is illegal to distribute pornography.[27] The possession and import of pornography are offences.[28] Unlike numerous African nations which have no laws against child pornography, Egypt blocks child pornography websites and dealing in child pornography carries a minimum sentence of five years and fines of US$29,000.[29] In 2009 Egypt's Administrative Court ruled that internet pornography should be banned, describing it as "venomous and vile". In 2012 the country's Prosecutor General ordered government ministries to block the websites,[6] and the Administrative Court repeated its order for the Cabinet to block pornographic websites in 2015.[30] However, the cost of blocking large numbers of pornographic websites has prevented the full implementation of the court's ruling.[6] Egypt has the highest viewing figures for pornography in the Middle East according to a survey of access to Pornhub.[30]

Ethiopia

All forms of pornography is illegal in Ethiopia, its production in that country is rare. The legal status of Internet pornography in Ethiopia is uncertain.[citation needed]

Morocco

In 2004, Morocco introduced severe punishment for promoting pornography.[31] Producing pornography of any kind is illegal in Morocco. However, it does not apply much on Internet pornography; porn websites are widely accessible in Morocco.[citation needed]

Nigeria

Nigeria has no national laws prohibiting pornography, although the public display of graphic sexual material is illegal in Lagos. The country has a small indigenous pornography industry which produces exclusively heterosexual pornography as homosexual activity in Nigeria is illegal. Some Muslim politicians in the national government have proposed a nationwide block on pornographic websites.[32] There is significant piracy of pornography in Nigeria, with pirated pornographic DVDs being sold from roadside stalls in Lagos.[33] Pornography is also sold in Nigerian sex shops and some pornographic magazines are produced in the country, often reproducing pictures from foreign magazines. The first officially acknowledged hardcore pornographic film produced in Nigeria was Better Lover Valentine Sex Party. It was not submitted to the National Film and Video Censors Board for classification and it was immediately banned on the grounds of obscenity and immorality.[34] Internet pornography is widely viewed in Nigeria. In 2015 the monthly average for the number of searches for pornography was 135,000, and in December 2014 and 2015 the proportion of searches for pornography (relative to other searches) was higher in Nigeria than in the United States. In 2013 Nigeria ranked second globally for Internet searches for gay pornography.[35]

South Africa

Pornography rated X18 is permitted by the law only if sold to persons over the age of 18 in registered stores. It is an offense to host a pornographic web site in South Africa because of the difficulty of age-verification and the requirement that pornography only be distributed from designated, licensed physical premises. It is also unlawful to visually represent bestiality (also rated XX), but not in text descriptions. Supplying violent pornography is an offence in any form, but the law allows the production of pornography that is not prohibited.

Distribution of pornography is regulated by the Films and Publications Act of 1996[36] which is enforced by the Films and Publications Board.[37]

Sudan

Pornography is prohibited in Sudan and the laws are strict. Pornographic websites are blocked by the government, pornography is largely inaccessible, and porn possession, production, distribution and sale can lead to fines, prison or corporal punishment.[citation needed]

Uganda

Pornographic DVDs have in the past been sold on the streets in Uganda.[38] However, an Anti-Pornography Act (popularly known as the "Anti-Miniskirt Law") was signed into law in 2014 with the stated objectives of defining what constitutes the offence of pornography and establishing a Pornography Control Committee.[39] The Committee is responsible for the implementation of the law and for taking measures to detect, prohibit, collect and destroy pornographic materials.[40] The law broadly defines pornography as "any representation of the sexual parts of a person for primarily sexual excitement".[38] The law says that "a person shall not produce, traffic in, publish, broadcast, procure, import, export, sell or abet any form of pornography". Breaches of the law are punishable with up to ten years in jail.[41] Prior to the passing of the act there were a number of laws concerning aspects of pornography in Uganda, but this was the first law to create a specific offence of pornography.[42] The law repeals and replaces Section 166 of the Penal Code Act, widening the legal interpretation of pornography and prohibiting it comprehensively.[43] The law has been subject to challenge in the Constitutional Court on the basis of its vague wording and the broad powers of the committee.[44] In 2015 Ugandan pop singer Jemimah Kansiime was charged under the law for appearing in a music video.[45]

In July 2018, the Ugandan government directed the country's ISPs to block 27 pornographic websites.[23]

Americas

Argentina

Argentina is emerging as another source for transsexual pornography[citation needed], with several titles already produced by major American companies (e.g., Anabolic Video). Argentina is also widely used to shoot pornographic clips straight for the Internet, as well as for photoshoots. Films shot in Argentina typically have the male performers wearing condoms.[citation needed]

Bahamas

The Bahamian penal code prohibits the production and distribution of obscene publications.[46] Many types of pornography are prohibited in the Bahamas; however, law enforcement is relaxed and does not usually enforce the prohibition.[47] Pornography is available on Bahamian cable television[48] and in 2014 ZNS-TV broadcast a report on the establishment of a local pornography industry in the Bahamas.[49]

Brazil

In Brazil, pornographic film actors must be 18 or older. Pornography which does not involve bestiality is legal when sold in public places. Depiction of sex with animals is legal.[50] However, magazine and DVD covers that depict genitalia must not be visible from public view, and pornography can only be sold to people 18 or older.

Canada

The laws of Canada permit the sale of hardcore pornography to anyone over the age of eighteen. While persons below that age may have pornography in their possession, its sale to them is prohibited.

Most hardcore pornography is sold in adult stores or on adult websites.

Cuba

Pornography was illegal in Cuba during Fidel Castro's leadership of the country, but the laws were relaxed in the 2010s.[51] However, many pornographic websites are still blocked in Cuba.[citation needed]

Guyana

In Guyana, it is illegal to sell or possess pornography. Distribution, possession, sale, and importation of pornographic magazines, DVDs, books, photographs, etc. or simply browsing for pornographic websites on the Internet can lead to a variety of punishments ranging from community service, a fine of up to 45,000 Guyana dollars, up to 2 years in prison, or corporal punishment.[citation needed]

Jamaica

Pornography is legal in Jamaica for adults over 18. But age verifications for buying porn or any sex-related products are relatively lax. The Jamaican government is planning to block Internet child pornography.[citation needed]

Mexico

From early on in the 20th century Mexico was known for producing a lot of films with full female nudity and softcore pornographic scenes.[citation needed]

United States

In the United States, pornography is not unlawful at the federal level, but is subject to the Miller test, which was developed in the 1973 case Miller v. California.[52] The Miller test was an effort to differentiate between pornography and 'obscenity.' It has three parts:

The work is considered obscene only if all three conditions are satisfied. Local areas are permitted to develop their own laws on the issue, as long as they do not conflict with federal law.

Pornography is a large industry that involves major entertainment companies, which offer pornography films through cable channels and in-room movies in hotels. Pornography distribution changed radically during the 1980s, with VHS and cable television largely displacing X-rated theaters. VHS distribution, in turn, has been replaced by DVD and Internet distribution for niche markets. Pornography generates billions of dollars in sales in the United States alone. An estimated 211 new pornographic films are made every week in the United States.[54]

Asia

Bangladesh

By passing "Pornography Control Act, 2012" Bangladesh government has prohibited carrying, exchanging, using, selling, marketing, distributing, preserving, filming etc. of pornography (Sexually explicit materials, unless it has artistic and/or educational value). Penalties include a maximum of 10 years in prison and fines up to Tk.500,000/(USD 6,410).

China

It is illegal to sell or distribute pornography in China, but it is not illegal to own or to watch it. Google, Yahoo, YouTube and other websites do not allow users in China to perform searches related to sex.[citation needed] Pornographic material in China comes from Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, or Japan.[citation needed]

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is the primary source of Chinese-language erotica.[citation needed]

Pornographic films in Hong Kong are referred to as Category III films, after the territory's motion picture rating system. Category III films would generally be considered softcore by American and Japanese standards, often featuring more elaborate and comical plots than foreign equivalents. In the early 21st century many of the roles involving sex scenes are actually performed by Japanese actresses, with any dialogue dubbed into Chinese, rather than by Chinese women.

Hardcore pornographic videos and films, in both physical and digital forms, can be legally sold in the territory.

India

The possession and viewing of pornography by an adult in a private residence is legal in India. In July 2015 the Supreme Court of India ruled against the blocking of pornographic websites.[55] In August 2015 the Government of India issued an order to Indian ISPs to block at least 857 websites that it considered pornographic[56] but the order was quickly lifted following widespread objections.[57] Child pornography in electronic form is illegal in India under section 67B of the Information Technology Act, 2000[58] and in February 2016 the Supreme Court asked the Indian Government to suggest ways of banning all forms of child pornography.[59] The making and distribution of pornography is illegal in India.[60]

Japan

Pornography is legal in Japan; however, there are restrictions. Pubic hair and genitalia must be pixelated or censored and all participants must be 18 years of age or older.

Lebanon

Pornography in Lebanon is illegal and is subject to several legal provisions, but it's considered legal to access pornographic websites for personal use only.[citation needed]

Nepal

Nepali law identifies pornography as illegal. The sharing, distribution and broadcasting of pornographic content through any medium is prohibited.[13] In 2010 it was reported that the Home Ministry had banned access to a list of websites including explicitly adult websites.[61] In September 2018, concerns about violence against women led the Government of Nepal to announce its intention to ban online pornography.[62] From 24 September, the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) began to put a block on all websites providing pornographic content on the orders of the Nepal Government Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MOCIT). By 12 October more than 21,000 pornographic websites had been blocked.[13]

North Korea

Both domestic and imported works of pornography have been available in North Korea since recent decades.[63] Producing, distributing, importing and watching pornography is prohibited.[64]

Possession of pornography became widespread among elites during the late 1990s. Political and army elites are the most active consumers of pornography. Locally produced pornography initially appeared during the reign of Kim Jong-il. A typical North Korean-made pornographic film involves nude or scantily clad women dancing with music.[65]

Importing pornography to North Korea is harshly punished. Pornography is sold openly on the China–North Korea border regardless of regulations.[66] Despite attempts to curtail circulation of imported pornography, most of the pornography watched in North Korea is currently made abroad.[65] A significant part of pornographic media in circulation consists of Chinese bootleg recordings of poor quality.[63]

There is no access to foreign pornographic websites from within North Korea.[67]

North Korea has ratified the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.[68] However, there are currently no specific laws to combat child pornography.[69]

South Korea

Pornography is banned by the government in South Korea, with laws strictly enforced. The distribution, sale or display of obscene materials via the Internet can be punished with up to two years' imprisonment, although there is no penalty for watching or possessing Internet pornography. The exception is child pornography, the possession of which carries a maximum one-year prison sentence, and the maximum sentence for distributing, selling or displaying it for commercial purposes is ten years. Many foreign pornographic websites are blocked, and those found to be operating from within the country are shut down.[70] The Korea Internet Safety Commission is responsible for instructing Internet service providers to block access to "pornography and nudity".[71] Google Search in South Korea filters search results for around 700 terms considered by the government to be adult in nature unless the user demonstrates that they are aged over 19.[72]

Pakistan

Pornography in Pakistan is illegal and is subject to several legal provisions. The Government has put a 100% ban on internet websites containing such material since November 2011. The list of banned pornographic websites is updated on an ongoing basis.

Philippines

The Philippine penal code prohibits the production and distribution of obscene publications. There is a ban on pornography, but the law enforcement is relaxed and doesn't enforce the prohibition. Pornographic movies are available on Philippine cable television. Since 2014 there was a little local production.[citation needed]

Some ISPs in the Philippines have blocked access to pornographic websites since January 2017, due to the Republic Act 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Law.

Saudi Arabia

Items considered pornographic by Saudi Arabian standards are forbidden in the country. Customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning the importation of pornographic items into Saudi Arabia. Such items may be confiscated on arrival and the owner may be subject to a fine.[73] Accessing pornographic websites can lead to imprisonment, fine, deportation or any other severe punishment by the government.[citation needed]

Syria

Pornography in Syria is illegal and is subject to several legal provisions. The Syrian government began blocking pornography sites in late 2017.[citation needed]

Turkmenistan

Even though the legal status of pornography in Turkmenistan is unknown, a law, passed on 1 January 2015, banning citizens to access pornography on the internet[74] suggests that pornography may be illegal in Turkmenistan.

Europe

European hardcore pornography is dominated by a few pan-European producers and distributors, the most notable of which is the Private Media Group. Most European countries also have local pornography producers, from Portugal (Naturalvideo) to Romania (Floyd-Agency), all of which compete with larger, international organizations with varying levels of success.

Many U.S.-based pornography websites distribute European pornography as a genre. These actresses (often advertised as "Eurobabes")[75] may conform more to a look usually seen in U.S. actresses than European ones, although they may still be considered to look "more natural". European pornography typically de-emphasizes breast implants, among other aesthetic factors.

Belarus

Production, dissemination and assembly of pornography is banned, with laws strictly enforced. Breaking the law is punishable with up to four years in prison.[76]

France

In France, pornography is overall permitted, but with distinctions:

  • Hardcore pornography must not be sold to minors under the age of 18.
  • Softcore porn is allowed for people 16 and over.
  • Extremely violent or graphic pornography is considered X-rated, and so may be shown only in specific theaters, and may not be displayed to minors.
  • Some pornography has a special VAT (value-added tax): a 33% tax is levied on X-rated movies, and a 50% excise is placed on pornographic online services.

The ratings system has caused controversy; e.g., in 2000 the sexually explicit and violent film Baise-moi was initially rated only as "restricted" by the French government. This classification was overturned by a Conseil d'État ruling in a lawsuit brought by associations supporting Christian and family values.

Some movies are forbidden to minors under 18, without the X rating, like Baise-moi, Ken Park or Saw 3, so that these movies can be viewed in theaters and not attract VAT.

Germany

The constitution and law are very strict about hardcore pornography, especially when compared to very liberal laws about softcore pornography, prostitution and sex shops. Supplying hardcore pornography to people who are less than 18 years old is an offence, and shops selling it must keep people under the age of 18 from entering their premises. If only a part of the shop is dedicated to pornography, it must be completely closed off from the rest of the premises. Alternatively, shops may choose not to display their goods or advertise that they sell them, in which case minors may be admitted. Websites hosting pornographic material within Germany must comply with very strict rules about verifying that viewers are over 18.[77]

Soft porn is less restricted, and may even be broadcast on TV at night. The age threshold is usually FSK-16. In contrast many uncut action films or video games easily reach the FSK-18 rating.

Hungary

In Hungary, pornography is unlawful if sold or shown to children under 18 years of age. Displaying the genitals openly, as on the cover of a magazine, is not prohibited.

Iceland

The production or sale of pornography is prohibited in Iceland. Heavy fines were applied in 2001 and ten years earlier a fine was applied to the first manager of the first private TV-station (and the only case to present) in Iceland for showing the Danish "mainstream" Zodiac-films, I Tvillingernes tegn and I Tyrens tegn.[78] In early 2013 there was a draft proposal by Ögmundur Jónasson, the Minister of the Interior, to extend the ban to online pornography to protect children from violent sexual imagery.[79] The plan has been stalled since the change in government during the parliamentary election on 27 April 2013. Since then, there have been no changes to the relevant legislation, and no changes have been formally proposed.[80][81]

Italy

In Italy, it is illegal to distribute pictorial or video pornography to persons under the age of 18. However, persons over 18 years of age are permitted to view pornographic material.

Russia

According to Russian law, consumption of pornography is allowed though the production of it is not. The illegal production, distribution, and "public demonstration" of pornography is punishable by a 2- to 6-year prison term. Roskomnadzor, the Russian government's media overseer, has the power to order the blocking of pornographic websites. In 2015 the agency required the blocking of the Russian-language version of Pornhub and 10 other pornographic sites on the basis of a court ruling.[82]

There is nevertheless some uncertainty concerning the legal status of pornography in Russia. The law criminalizes only the 'illegal' production and selling of pornography (which implies that it sometimes can be legal), but two circumstances make enforcement of the law difficult: (1) the lack of a legal definition of pornography, and (2) no law defining when production or selling is permitted.[citation needed]

Ukraine

Pornographic production, distribution, broadcasting (both audio and video), transportation, import and advertisement is forbidden by law in Ukraine.[83]

United Kingdom

In England and Wales, the main legislation on pornographic materials is the Obscene Publications Act 1959, the Obscene Publications Act 1964, and the Indecent Displays (Control) Act 1981. Video-oriented depictions of hardcore material (with certain exceptions for works considered primarily 'artistic' rather than pornographic) were banned until 1999, when the removal of trade barriers with other European Union member states allowed for the relatively free movement of such goods for personal use. R18-rated videos are only available in licensed sex shops, but hardcore pornographic magazines are available in shops selling newspapers and magazines. In 2008, the Crown Prosecution Service unsuccessfully prosecuted a man under the Obscene Publications Act (the R v Walker trial) for a textual story on a pornography website involving Girls Aloud.[84] Also that year, the Home Office introduced legislation to criminalize possession of what it has labelled extreme pornography; these laws are now contained in sections 63 to 68 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.[85]

Oceania

Australia

In Australia, possession of pornographic material is permitted. However, it is illegal to sell, exhibit or rent X-rated pornographic material in most states of Australia, including Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, New South Wales, Tasmania, and Queensland. In contrast, it is legal to sell, exhibit, or rent X-rated pornographic material in some territories including the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. As the Australian constitution prohibits states from regulating interstate commerce, the law permits the purchase of pornography from stores in either territory and also bringing it interstate. This means that the majority of Australian mail-order operations for adult material operate from the ACT.[86] Despite the offenses under state laws, stores selling X-rated material are abundant in major cities, advertising openly, as these laws are rarely enforced.[citation needed]

Ratings for the X18+ category were tightened in 2000 to ban material featuring some fetishes or which appeared to include minors.[citation needed] In 2007 the Northern Territory National Emergency Response introduced by the Howard Government made the possession of RC and X18+ pornography an offence in some Aboriginal communities.[87]

New Zealand

In New Zealand, pornography is generally treated in a liberal manner and very little is banned by the Office of Film and Literature Classification. However, the most extreme forms of pornography (such as child pornography, rape, incest and bestiality) are classified as objectionable material by the OFLC, effectively banning them.[88]

Papua New Guinea

In Papua New Guinea, the possession, import, export, and sale of pornography are all offenses. Control is strict. According to the government, all websites containing pornography, nudity or depictions of sex are blocked and the government has been blocking such sites since early 2009. Under the law, persons who possess, own, import, export, sell or exhibit pornography to the public are subject to arrest and trial and can face up to 6 months' imprisonment and/or a fine up to 50,000 to 100,000 Papua New Guinean kina.[89] In PNG, pornography is subject to legal restraints to publication on grounds of obscenity. Laws relating to pornography in Papua New Guinea are vague. The main legislation used in dealing with cases relating to pornographic nature refer back to the Chapter 262 Criminal Code of Papua New Guinea, Lukautim Pikinini Act 2009, Classification of Publication Censorship Act 1989 and the National ICT Act, 2009. Improper Use of ICT Services.[89]

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