Pornography refers to material dealing with sex designed to arouse its readers or viewers. There are two types of pornography that receive no First Amendment protection — obscenity and child pornography. The First Amendment generally protects pornography that does not fall into one of these two categories — at least for adult viewers. Obscenity Obscenity remains one of the most controversial and confounding areas of First Amendment law.
Obscenity and Pornography | The First Amendment Encyclopedia
Skip to content. Indeed, there were no statutes forbidding obscenity during the entire colonial era. The first obscenity prosecution in the United States did not occur until , at the height of the evangelical explosion of the Second Great Awakening. Such prosecutions, however, were rare, and by the s, as the Second Great Awakening waned, there was once again an upsurge in the availability of pornography. These new entertainments placed sex into the forefront of American society as never before.
Obscenity refers to a narrow category of pornography that violates contemporary community standards and has no serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value. For adults at least, most pornography receives constitutional protection. Miller v. The Supreme Court has resisted efforts of states to expand the rationale for obscenity laws beyond hard-core sexual material when it invalidated a California statute that regulated the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. For adults at least, most pornography — material of a sexual nature that arouses many readers and viewers — receives constitutional protection.
United States obscenity law deals with the regulation or suppression of what is considered obscenity. In the United States, discussion of obscenity typically relates to pornography , as well as issues of freedom of speech and of the press , otherwise protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Issues of obscenity arise at federal and state levels.