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Katrina Bell
Katrina Bell, Enrolled Barrister & Solicitor HCNZ
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 469
Experience:  LLB (Honours, First Class)
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Is it illegal to view pornography on the internet?

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Is it illegal to view pornography on the internet? I am referring to material containing consenting adults and non-violent.

Hello Customer

Basically, yes, you can break the law by viewing pornography - if the pornography viewed is illegal in the country you are viewing it in.

If, however, the pornography is legal in the country in which it is viewed, the viewing of it on the internet is also legal.

Viewing something over the internet is considered "publishing" because when you access it, a copy of it loads onto your computer whether your save it or not. So ... if you could legally go to the shop and buy the pornography you are viewing you have no problem and have broken no laws. If you cannot purchase it in a shop because it is prohibited, you break the law.

I hope that makes sense?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
So if I were to advise people living in Australia on this matter, other than it is better to avoid the sites altogether, how would they know whether it is illegal to view a certain site? Are the sites required to provide disclaimers or some acknowledgement of content?

Hello Customer

There are no disclaimers on the sites other than to say that they contain adult content. Most pornography that is illegal does not have a big sign saying so. I guess the assumption is that people over the age of consent, who are able to view this content do so having a basic understanding of what is, and isn't, legal in the country in which they live.

Ignorance of the law in regard to prohibited sexual content is no defence - otherwise people would just say "well, I didnt know that" in court and expect to get off.

If you are wanting to advise people, I suggest you send them to

This is a government site which fully explains pornography and the internet. It is a bit difficult to navigate, but unfortunately there is no "this is legal and this is not" simple list I can refer you to.

Katrina Bell and other Australia Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you. You have been most helpful.

You are most welcome,

Regards, Katrina