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Pornography in Europe has been dominated by a few pan-European producers and distributors, the most notable of which is the Private Media Group that had successfully claimed the throne of Color Climax Corporation in early 1990s. Most European countries also have local pornography producers, from Portugal (e.g. Naturalvideo) to Serbia (e.g. Hexor), with varying potentials of competition with international producers.
Hungary is noted for having liberal pornography laws. The Czech Republic, with its specialised companies such as the spanking producers Lupus Pictures, gay pornography label Bel Ami, and for having become the regular European destination of the U.S. and Japanese producers as well as its culturally open attitude to pornography and extremely low religiousness, is a likely rival. Romania is also considered a "rising star" of European pornography in mid-2000s, mainly thanks to pornographic auteur Raul Cristian of Floyd-Agency.
The once popular style of Euro-chic pornography represented by directors Lasse Braun, Joe d'Amato, and Michel Gentil has lost ground and the Pierre Woodman style of video porn now attracts a larger audience. A few directors like Luca Damiano, Mario Salieri, and Alain Payet continue with the "older" cinematographic and dramatic styles that often distinguish European pornography from those of other cultures.
In early 1970s, French viewers had become familiar with stag films shot in the Netherlands, featuring French actresses such as Claudine Beccarie and Sylvia Bourdon. The first genuine French pornographic film Les Baiseuses by Guy Gibert was released in 1975. The first French porn film that met international success was Le Sexe qui parle by Claude Mulot, which was released the same year (followed by a sequel two years later). This film was so successful that it was exported to the US, with the name Pussy Talk.
In 1976, a law that put considerable sanctions on pornographic films in distribution and taxation, known popularly as Code X was imposed, creating a situation that forced pornography develop itself on its own right. Since then, pornography has been a growing economy in France, now existing in various forms from magazines to satellite TV broadcasting.
Producers of video pornography can be divided into two segments: companies like Vidéo Marc Dorcel, which produces "chic" adult feature films for the international market and companies that produce low-budget videos almost exclusively for domestic market (Œil du Cochon, Euro Choc, Ragtime, etc.). The latter type also tends to focus on popular fetishes such as rape, incest, and fisting (as indicated in the classic series Viol, inceste & fist-fucking (Rape, Incest, and Fist-Fucking) by Fabien Lafait).
Early years of German pornography began with the softcore film Graf Porno und seine Mädchen (Count Porno and his girls) in 1968. The movie's success (more than 3 million admissions) lead to a whole series of films that was and is referred to in German media as the Sex-Welle (sex wave). The most well known film of this period is Schulmädchen-Report: Was Eltern nicht für möglich halten (The School-Girl Report, what the parents don't believe possible) by Ernst Hofbauer in 1970. The sex scenes had become bolder with time and by 1975, when the legal ban of pornography was lifted, the era of German hardcore pornography began.
Director Hans Billian was the protagonist of the period and the films were usually in line with the so-called "Bavarian porn sex comedies", often depicting male performers as comic characters, like Sepp Gneißl in Kasimir der Kuckuckskleber (1977). This era was also characterised by several Josephine Mutzenbacher films.
Today's German pornography is generally very similar to the American "glamour" pornography though often tailored primarily for the German market. In contrast several German labels focus on a more "home-made" amateur flair, often focusing on intense hardcore themes such as gang bangs, bukkake and urine fetishism; most notably 'German Goo Girls' and other series by John Thompson Productions.
Due to popular belief outside of Germany, fecal pornography known as "Scheisse porn" (using the German slang word for faeces) or, more commonly, as "Kaviar" (a generic term) supposedly is particularly popular in Germany, with companies like SG-Video and performers like Austrian Veronica Moser or English Ben Chambers specializing in the concept. Although German companies have their fair world market share in producing for this niche market, the major percentage is sold into export. 
In Hungary, the production of pornography mainly dates from the period after the fall of communism in 1989. The production and distribution of pornography was illegal under communism, but the laws were liberalised with the emergence of democracy. Permissive government policies soon propelled the country to the forefront of the European pornography industry. Several foreign directors were attracted to the country's liberal legislation, cheap production costs and large supply of attractive female performers. Eventually, domestic producers began to prosper as well, and several female actresses made big names for themselves within the industry. Hungarian pornography is different from that produced in American in the more natural appearance of its performers. The sex scenes also tend to be more extreme, with frequent use of anal sex and various forms of multiple penetration.
Although Italy had accumulated a lot of softcore pornography in 1970s, hardcore pornography was not a usual trend until 1980s. The first pornographic film in Italy was Il Telefono rosso (The red telephone) in 1983 by Riccardo Schicchi with Ilona Staller (aka "Cicciolina"). The film caused much controversy and it was restrained from legal release until 1986 with an alternate revision of Italian censorship laws.
With this atmosphere of liberty, Italian producers rushed to meet on-screen curiosities of viewers to even gain the title of presenting "bestiality" in mainstream pornographic films; a trend shared by Rocco Siffredi in his 2003 film Hazardous Duty (in the European release by Night Trips). Italian pornography producers depended on French actresses or expatriates like Marina Hedman (with the notable exception Moana Pozzi with her Valentina, ragazza in calore by Raniero di Giovanbattista in 1981) till the arrival of Hungarian Gabriella Kovács (aka "Angelica Bella") in 1991 but following this, Italy faced an influx of female pornography performers from ex-East Europe.
In today's Italian pornography, the strong emphasis is placed on aggressive anal sex often with implied coercion. Many Italian films have no vaginal intercourse at all, being strictly about anal sex. Another popular theme is age disparity between sexual partners, giving way to the Incesto films by directors like Andy Casanova and Eros Cristaldi. Director Andy Casanova's popular series Stupri Italiani also introduces rape as a popular theme.
Most Russian porn is produced in Moscow and in St. Petersburg where the largest adult film producer, SP-Company, is based. The types of Russian adult films may range from gonzo pornography to adaptations of Russian classics (Eugene Onegin (by Tatiana Taneyeva (2003)), The Master and Margarita (by Armen Oganezov & Sergei Pryanishnikov (2002)) etc.) and these productions basically aim the domestic market. Much of the pornography is produced for the international internet market.
In Britain, where pornography is more restricted than it is in many other English-speaking or Western Europe countries, sexual media is easily smeared for an audience that is seldom given an opportunity to see what really is sold under the name of "pornography". However the current British legislative framework including the Obscene Publications Act 1959 (in England and Wales), the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 and the Video Recordings Act 1984 leads to a confusing situation in which there is a theoretical ban on the publication and distribution (but not possession) of pornographic material in any form, which is in practice unenforcable due to the vagueness of the legal test of material that "depraves and corrupts". In practice, hardcore material on video and DVD was until recently banned by the requirement under the Video Recordings Act to be certified by the BBFC, while mainstream hardcore material in other forms such as magazines and websites is essentially unrestricted. European, American and British hardcore pornographic magazines are now openly sold in many British newsagents, for instance. Due to libralisation in BBFC policy, mainstream hardcore DVDs now receive R18 certificates, legalising them but restricting their sale to licensed sex shops such as those in Soho.
British-made pornography tends to focus on a rough-and-ready semi-amateur look rather than the more stylized glamorous look of Continental European pornography.
The UK is still the only Member State of the European Union that prohibits private imports of adult pornography by consumers coming from other Member States of the European Union. In the 2004–2005 fiscal year, the agents of Her Majesty Revenue & Customs seized 96,783 items of pornographic media carried by people travelling into the UK.
The UK porn industry is estimated to be now worth about £1 billion, compared to £20 billion worldwide.