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in law, anything that tends to corrupt public morals by its indecency. The moral concepts that the term connotes vary from time to time and from place to place. In the United States, the word obscenity is a technical legal term. In the 1950s the U.S. Supreme Court began to relax rules prohibiting the possession, sale, and distribution of obscene material, often called pornography, but in 1973 that trend was reversed. The court ruled that material that appealed to prurient interest in sex and that did not have serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value could be banned as obscene. It ruled that a national definition of obscenity was not necessary and, therefore, that communities could develop local standards within the court's guidelines. The legal determination that material falls within a definition of obscenity is usually made by a jury.


See H. M. Clor, Obscenity and Public Morality (1969, repr. 1985); D. S. Moretti, Obscenity and Pornography (1984).

References in periodicals archive ?
The other, an underage boy, solicits Crowe and Gosling's characters for homosexual sex -- propositioning them, utilizing obscenities, to pay him to see his genitals.
All they have really done is focus attention on the obscenities that have become characteristic of this administration.
South Wales Police said the man grabbed the female and shouted obscenities, before getting away on his bike turning right into beach lane.
Dutsch and Suter present this volume examining the use of sexual and scatological obscenities in Greco-Roman text and art.
Like all children, she loves going upstairs - especially at the front - but the top deck seemed full of teenagers, complaining about their mates, discussing where they were going to go for junk food and where to hang out afterwards - every sentence liberally sprinkled with obscenities!
Actor Shia LaBeouf walks through the media after leaving court following <Bhis arrest for yelling obscenities at a Broadway performance of Cabaret
Lilienkamp continued to assault him, all the while shouting obscenities, the officer said.
"But it all gets too much for him and he starts shouting obscenities while walking back to the kitchen, which leaves the diners stunned.
UNITED NATIONS: East Timor's Nobel Peace Prize-winning president, Jose Ramos Horta, on Saturday accused Iran's outspoken leader of speaking "obscenities" when he evoked US government involvement in the September 11 attacks.
Summary: England's cricketers have been warned over their use of Twitter after players were fined for using obscenities on the social network site.
On the other side of the globe, we heard that Deepika Padukone will be seen mouthing some shocking obscenities in the yet- to- release film, Lafangey Parindey .
According to The Sun, the airline crew later asked the star to quiet down after she began shouting obscenities.