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Communication Law - Essay Example

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Communication Law Professor Institution Communication Law Earlier, American courts used the English rule where material was judged by the effect of isolated passages specifically on vulnerable people. Prosecution for obscenity started to occur in the 19th century in this nation…
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Communication Law
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Download file to see previous pages During that time, obscenity was defined as anything that can and or had the tendency to corrupt and debauch susceptible minds that were open to such immoral impact and to those hands the content might happen to fall. This was called the Hicklin rule. It meant that if any section of a book or other works could corrupt and or deprave the minds of any person who sees the work, the material was obscene, and no one was allowed to buy or see it (Rault, 2006). This facilitated the censorship of a wide array of materials by the government. Roth simply recapped the proposals lower courts had been trying to put across for years-the test for obscenity should be based on whether an average person, considering the prevalent community standards, the main theme of the material as a whole applies to the voyeuristic interest. This standard offers guidance in the determination of materials that should be considered was essential to distinctly identify actual obscenity and materials that merely delve in the areas that are not traditionally bound to society’s norms and acceptability. The court started to consider the many problems that Roth had not covered. In small groups justices sought to clarify queries such as: What is the average person? What is prurient interest? What are the contemporary community standards? In 1950s and 1960s, the Supreme Court adopted a new definition and test for obscenity (Rault, 2006). This was the Roth-Memoirs test. It differed from the previous standard in that: The main theme of the material that was taken as a whole, appeals to the average prurient interest in sex of the person. Materials were taken patently offensive if they affront the contemporary standards of the community on sexual matters. It assumed a single country-wide standard was applicable in the whole country. The material has no social value at all that is, it’s utterly without any redeeming social value. Today, a miller test is used to determine obscenity. Something is considered obscene if viewed as a whole where the work: Appeals to the prurient interest to the average person applying contemporary community standards. Depicts sexual conduct in a patently offensive manner, measured by the contemporary community standards Lacks serious artistic, literary, political and scientific value. In the past two decades, conformist groups have applied significant pressure on the music and arts industry. The 2 Live Crew is a good example where the band was tried for use of obscenity. For the first time apparently, the court of appeals applied the Miller test to a musical composition with instrumentals and lyrics. The case is particularly controversial as the only evidence presented was the tape recording and the case was tried by a judge with no jury. According to the court, the materials in the 2 Live Crew’s album As Nasty As They Wanna Be was officially obscene considering the community standards and it became illegal to sell or perform in any of Florida’s counties. For instance, the movie: Columbia Holocaust has been a target for censorship by animal and moral activists and has seen about five minutes cut to remove rape scenes and animal cruelty. Applying the Miller test, it is certain that the movie, especially by the community standards at the time of its release, appeals to the prurient interest of an average person. It also contains numerous scenes of high levels sexual violence. The level of artistic, scientific and literary value ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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