The fundamental premise of this volume is that sex-themed visual imagery (pornography and obscenity) is not a uniquely Western phenomenon. It is therefore not the telltale sign of Western decadence that some countries and cultures would have us believe it to be. We have seen that from a historical perspective, sex-themed visual imagery was part and parcel of the cultural reality of a wide swath of nations, empires, and cultures around the world. The convergence of once discrete media—books, magazines, newspapers, photography, the cinema, music, radio, television, and so on—and innovations in the fields of information and communication technology led to globalization: the interconnection of nations, cultures, and peoples. Globalization and media convergence have not taken place in a legal or cultural vacuum. When the US Congress passed the Scientific and Advanced Technology Act of 1992, which opened up the Internet to science, technology, and engineering, as well as educational, cultural, and commercial activities, the network of computer networks quickly became a virtual, interactive, global multicommunication space. It also became the virtual domain of sexual capitalism, which pioneered online payment and other technologies that enabled it to commercialize pornography and obscenity.
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