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Pornography And Obscenity

Often used interchangeably, the terms pornography and obscenity in fact have different meanings. Pornography, derived from the Greek for "writing about prostitutes," refers to literature, photographs, or depictions of scenes of sexual behavior that are erotic or lewd and designed to arouse sexual interest. Obscenity, derived from the Greek for "filth," is a more narrowly defined legal term to describe written and visual materials, as well as speech and behavior, all of an explicitly sexual nature, which are not protected by the free speech provisions of the First Amendment. While some forms of pornography are considered legally obscene, others are not. Pornography is divided into two types, soft core and hard core. Soft-core pornography, which usually falls under free speech rights, generally involves the depiction of nudity and limited, simulated sexual behavior. Hard-core pornography, by contrast, is a more graphic, realistic depiction of sexual acts, including intercourse, sodomy, and sadism. It is the realm of hard-core pornography that often comes under purview of the courts in determining obscenity.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationGreat American Court CasesObscenity - Pornography And Obscenity, Pornography, Obscenity, And The Law, The Meese Commission And The Pornography Debate