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.
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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.
They present a significant challenge to the commercial pornographic film industry.
Irrespective of the legal or social view of pornography, it has been used in a number of contexts.
Commercialized pornography accounts for over US$2.5 billion in the United States alone, including the production of various media and associated products and services.
This industry employs thousands of performers along with support and production staff.Two of the earliest pioneers were Eugène Pirou and Albert Kirchner.Kirchner directed the earliest surviving pornographic film for Pirou under the trade name "Léar".It is used, for example, at fertility clinics to stimulate sperm donors.Some couples use pornography at times for variety and to create a sexual interest or as part of foreplay.The Victorian attitude that pornography was for a select few can be seen in the wording of the Hicklin test stemming from a court case in 1868 where it asks, "whether the tendency of the matter charged as obscenity is to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences." Although they were suppressed, depictions of erotic imagery were common throughout history.