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Such works have also often been subject to censorship and other legal restraints to publication, display, or possession, leading in many cases to their loss.Such grounds, and even the definition of pornography, have differed in various historical, cultural, and national contexts.Before the English Act, the publication of obscene material was treated as a common law misdemeanour and effectively prosecuting authors and publishers was difficult even in cases where the material was clearly intended as pornography.Although nineteenth-century legislation eventually outlawed the publication, retail, and trafficking of certain writings and images regarded as pornographic and would order the destruction of shop and warehouse stock meant for sale, the private possession of and viewing of (some forms of) pornography was not made an offence until the twentieth century.The English Act did not apply to Scotland, where the common law continued to apply.However, neither the English nor the United States Act defined what constituted "obscene", leaving this for the courts to determine.

Pirou's film inspired a genre of risqué French films showing women disrobing and other filmmakers realised profits could be made from such films.Irrespective of the legal or social view of pornography, it has been used in a number of contexts.It is used, for example, at fertility clinics to stimulate sperm donors.The moveable objects were locked away in the Secret Museum in Naples and what could not be removed was covered and cordoned off as to not corrupt the sensibilities of women, children, and the working classes.The authors were charged with "corrupting the King's subjects." The world's first law criminalizing pornography was the English Obscene Publications Act 1857 enacted at the urging of the Society for the Suppression of Vice.

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