Indecency on the Internet and International Law

Posted: 29 Feb 2008

Date Written: 2005


This article deals with the necessity to suppress pornography on the Internet, including both child and adult pornography. The main question is whether the states should co-operate in enforcing their moral standards, taking into account also the fact that their standards of indecency do differ. The article begins with giving an example of difficulties arising from suppressing the crime of pornography on the Internet. It givers a general overview of the state of international law in this area. It is stressed that the lack of the international cooperation can mean for the states a diminishing of their sovereignty to determine their public policy. Pornography also threatens traditional cultures and their concept of decency. Since there is an international obligation to protect world cultures and cultural diversity, the reason to suppress pornography, particularly adult pornography, on the Internet is not bound to proving any individual harm which adult pornography may cause. The reasons to ban pornography are weighed against the reasons not to ban. It is argued that there are sufficient reasons to ban adult pornography internationally as well as child pornography. The main difficulty to introduce an effective international regulation of the ban is the lack of the international standard for obscenity. The US standard found in the US case law is examined and found unsatisfactory. It is finally emphasised that it is not enough for the states to introduce criminal sanctions and enforce them strictly when combating pornography on the Internet. International law needs to address deeper problems which give rise to the wide spread indecency on the Internet.

Keywords: Organic composition, Rate of profit, Prices of production

Suggested Citation

Shytov, Alexander, Indecency on the Internet and International Law ( 2005). International Journal of Law and Information Technology, Vol. 13, Issue 2, pp. 260-280, 2005. Available at SSRN:

Alexander Shytov (Contact Author)

Chiang Mai University

Huay Kaew Road
Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai 50100

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