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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 ?
In a series of case studies that combine historical investigation with close readings, Josh Lambert productively explores such topics as the use of obscenity to counter accusations about Jewish sexual deviance, the deployment of literary obscenity as a path toward literary prestige for some American Jewish authors, the impact of American Jewish lawyers on obscenity case law, the escape from censorship by Yiddish literary production in America, and the self-censorship notable in writing by Jewish authors who claim modesty as a traditional Jewish virtue.
Obscenity has been linked to misogynism, perversion, sadism, and voyeurism.
Justice Ejaz Afzal remarked the matte of obscenity is highly sensitive.
The Article contends that the best way of understanding the cases is to view them as part of the push by mid-twentieth century courts to "demoralize" the law of obscenity, that is to reject, minimize, or ignore the government's contention that obscenity laws were needed to promote and protect public morality.
Nuneaton-born Whitehouse went straight to the top, phoning the Prime Minister's office early in 1983, urging fresh action on obscenity legislation.
Norman Mailer worked to change definitions of obscenity in his writing and the brash controversies of his writing makes him an especially compelling figure for the college classroom.
Fiona, I now refer to Christmas as the Obscenity of Christmas.
The complainant, RB Yadav, has sought for action against Bhansali, Singh and Padukone, stating that the film hurt religious sentiments, instigated hatred toward other religion and groups and also promoted obscenity.
The countries which claim to be highly developed countries are set to stem the flood of obscenity.
They may brand the club as Playboy but if they indulge in obscenity, vulgarity or nudity, then we will withdraw their permission immediately," Gulf News quoted Goa's director of tourism Nikhil Desai, as saying.
THE FIRST two times the Justice Department prosecuted Ira Isaacs for obscenity, the trials ended without a verdict.
Simply put, we know more than ever how illegal adult obscenity contributes to violence against women, addiction, harm to children, and sex trafficking.