Pornography

Author:Jeffrey Lehman, Shirelle Phelps
 
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The representation in books, magazines, photographs, films, and other media of scenes of sexual behavior that are erotic or lewd and are designed to arouse sexual interest.

Pornography is the depiction of sexual behavior that is intended to arouse sexual excitement in its audience. During the twentieth century, Americans debated whether pornographic material should be legally protected or banned. Those who believe pornography must be protected argue that the FIRST AMENDMENT to the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of expression, including sexual expression. Traditional opponents of pornography raise moral concerns, arguing that the First Amendment does not protect expression that corrupts people's behavior. Toward the end of the century, some feminists advocated suppressing pornography because it perpetuates gender stereotypes and promotes violence against women.

Pornography has been regulated by the legal standards that govern the concept of OBSCENITY, which refers to things society may consider disgusting, foul, or immoral, and may include material that is blasphemous. Pornography is limited to depictions of sexual behavior and may not be obscene.

The U.S. Supreme Court has established that obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment. The more troublesome question has been defining what is and is not obscene. In 1957, the U.S. Supreme Court, in ROTH V. UNITED STATES, 354 U.S. 476, 77 S. Ct. 1304, 1 L. Ed. 2d 1498, stated that obscenity is "utterly without redeeming social importance" and therefore is not protected by the First Amendment. The Roth test for obscenity is "whether to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to a prurient [lewd or lustful] interest." The Roth test proved difficult to use because every term in it eluded a conclusive definition.

The Supreme Court added requirements to the definition of obscenity in a 1966 case involving the English novel Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, more commonly known as Fanny Hill. In A Book Named "John Cleland's Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure" v. Attorney General, 383 U.S. 413, 86 S. Ct. 975, 16 L. Ed. 2d 1, the Court concluded that to establish obscenity, the material must, aside from appealing to the prurient interest, be "utterly without redeeming social value" and "patently offensive because it affronts contemporary community standards relating to the description of sexual matters." The phrase "utterly without redeeming social value" allowed a loophole for pornographers. Expert witnesses

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A sample section from a popular name table

Section of Popular Name Table
Revenue Act of 1942 Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Historic Preservation
Oct. 21, 1942, ch. 619, 56 Stat. 798 Study Act of 1996
Pub. L. 104?333, div. I, title VI, §603, Nov. 12, 1996, 110
Revenue Act of 1943 Stat. 4172 (16 U.S.C. 1a?5 note)
Feb. 25, 1944, ch. 63, 58 Stat. 21
Reynolds Aviation Training Act
Revenue Act of 1945 See Army Aviation Cadet Act
Nov. 8, 1945, ch. 453, 59 Stat. 556
Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1994
Revenue Act of 1948 Pub. L. 103?391, Oct. 22, 1994, 108 Stat. 4094 (16 U.S.C.
Apr. 2, 1948, ch. 168, 62 Stat. 110 5301 et seq.)
Short title, see 16 U.S.C. 5301 note
Revenue Act of 1950
Sept. 23, 1950, ch. 994, 64 Stat. 906 Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1998
Pub. L. 105?312, title IV, Oct. 30, 1998, 112 Stat. 2959.
Revenue Act of 1951 Short title, see 16 U.S.C. 5301 note
Oct. 20, 1951, ch. 521, 65 Stat. 452
Rhode Island Indian Claims Settlement Act
Revenue Act of 1962 Pub. L. 95?395, Sept. 30, 1978, 92 Stat. 813 (25 U.S.C.
Pub. L. 87?834, Oct. 16, 1962, 76 Stat. 960 1701 et seq.)
Short title, see 26 U.S.C. 1 note Short title, see 25 U.S.C. 1701 note
Revenue Act of 1964 Rice Production Act of 1975
Pub. L. 88?272, Feb. 26, 1964, 78 Stat. 19 Pub. L. 94?214, Feb. 16, 1976, 90 Stat. 181
Short title, see 26 U.S.C. 1 note Short title, see 7 U.S.C. 428c note
Revenue Act of 1971 Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act
Pub. L. 92?178, Dec. 10, 1971, 85 Stat. 497 June 4, 1946, ch. 281, 60 Stat. 230 (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.)
Short title, see 26 U.S.C. 1 note Short title, see 42 U.S.C. 1751 note
Revenue Act of 1978 Richmond National Battlefield Park Act of 2000
Publ. L. 95?600, Nov. 6, 1978, 92 Stat. 2763 Pub. L. 106?511, title V. Nov. 13, 2000, 114 Stat. 2373 (16
Short title, see 26 U.S.C. 1 note U.S.C. 423/?1 et seq.)
Revenue Act of 1987 Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Fund Act of 1998
Pub. L. 100?203, title X, Dec. 22, 1987, 101 Stat. 1330?382 Pub. L. 105?369, Nov. 12, 1998, 112 Stat. 3368 (42 U.S.C.
Short title, see 26 U.S.C. 1 note 300c?22 note)
Revenue Adjustment Act of 1975 RICO
Pub. L. 94?164, Dec. 23, 1975, 89 Stat. 970 See Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
Short title, see 26 U.S.C. 1 note (RICO)
Revenue Adjustments Act of 1980 Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement
Pub. L. 96?499, title XI, Dec. 5, 1980, 94 Stat. 2660 Act of 1994
Pub. L. 103?325, Sept. 23, 1994, 108 Stat. 2160
Revenue and Expenditure Control Act of 1968 Short title, see 12 U.S.C. 4701 note
Pub. L. 90?364, June 28, 1968, 82 Stat. 251
Short title, see 26 U.S.C. 1 note Riegle-Neal Amendments Act of 1997
Pub. L. 105?24, July 3, 1997, 111 Stat. 238
Revenue Forgone Reform Act Short title, see 12 U.S.C. 1811 note
Pub. L. 103?123, title VII, Oct. 28, 1993, 107 Stat. 1267
Short title, see 39 U.S.C. 101 note Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency
Act of 1994
Revenue Reconciliation Act of 1989 Pub. L. 103?328, Sept. 29, 1994, 108 Stat. 2338
Pub. L. 101?239, title VII, Dec. 19, 1989, 103 Stat. 2301 Short title, see 12 U.S.C. 1811 note
Short title, see 26 U.S.C. 1 note
Right of Way Act of 1891
Revenue Reconciliation Act of 1990 Mar. 3, 1891, ch. 561, §18, 26 Stat. 1101
Pub. L. 101?508, title XI, Nov. 5, 1990, 104 Stat. 1388?400
Short title, see 26 U.S.C. 1 note Right to Financial Privacy Act of 1978
Pub. L. 95?630, title XI, Nov. 10, 1978, 92 Stat. 3697 (12
Revenue Reconciliation Act of 1993 U.S.C. 3401 et seq.)
Pub. L. 103?66, title XIII, ch. 1 (§13001 et seq.), Short title, see 12 U.S.C. 3401 note
Aug. 10, 1993, 107 Stat. 416
Short title, see 26 U.S.C. 1 note Right to Work Law
July 5, 1935, ch. 372, §14, 49 Stat. 457 (29 U.S.C. 164)
Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands
July 22, 1954, ch. 558, 68 Stat. 497 (48 U.S.C. 1541 et seq.) Rio Grande American Canal Extension Act of 1990
Short title, see 38 U.S.C. 1541 note Pub. L. 101?438, Oct. 18, 1990, 104 Stat. 1001

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testified that there was at least a shred of social value in the novel's depiction of sexual behavior and social relations.

The Supreme Court established the basic legal standard for pornography in MILLER V. CALIFORNIA, 413 U.S. 15, 93 S. Ct. 2607, 37 L. Ed. 2d 419 (1973). Chief Justice WARREN E. BURGER stated in Miller that pornographic material would be classified as obscene if it met three criteria: (1) the work, taken as a whole by an average person applying contemporary community standards, appeals to the prurient interest; (2) the work depicts sexual conduct in a patently offensive way; and (3) the work, when taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

Burger emphasized in Miller that only hardcore pornography could be designated as patently offensive. He listed examples of patently offensive descriptions or representations, including representations of "ultimate sex acts" and "masturbation, excretory functions, and lewd...

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