Back in the early days of computing, almost all work was done in "text" mode - screens of text characters, with maybe some line graphics or other ASCII art thrown in. Apps like games and pie charts used "Graphics mode," which was exciting and exotic. There were only a few colors at first - seven kind of blurry ones on the Apple II, four garish tasteless ones on the IBM PC, then just black and white when the Mac came out. In the dark ages we actually moved at first towards fewer colors, not more!
In 1983 a fellow named James Maxey started up a BBS called Event Horizons. He themed his board and its graphic images for download around an astronomy bent at first, but entrepreneur that he was, he soon realized he could get more callers (virtually all computer enthusiasts were male at this point) by offering digitized photographs of women. He was soon raking in over 3 million a year - his was the most lucrative BBS of all time. BBSDays.com has a bio and list of his accomplishments.
This success was not lost on a certain men's magazine, which noted some of their images scanned into GIF files offered up on Mr. Maxey's system. Maxey claimed he could not be held responsible for what his users uploaded to his computer - he received massive amounts of files each day - but the fact that he tended to "sign" his images as "MaxiPics" and put his name and BBS phone number on them, rather put the kibosh on this defense. Maxey eventually settled with Playboy by simply writing a check for half a million dollars.
A similar situation occurred a few years later with a system known as "Rusty n Edie's." Having survived an FBI probe aimed at stopping piracy of commercial software offered online for free, Rusty's board apparently did not withstand its second challenge, this time from Playboy. It disappeared, Playboy started its own web enterprise, and the Web became (among other things, thankfully) a sort of global peepshow.
Below you can view some G-rated MaxiPics from the mid-1980s.