Obscenity

Cover of an undated American edition of Fanny Hill, c. 1910
The 18th century book Fanny Hill has been subject to obscenity trials at various times (image: plate XI: The bathing party; La baignade)

Any utterance or act that strongly offends the prevalent morality of the time.

- Obscenity

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Lenny Bruce

American stand-up comedian, social critic, and satirist.

Bruce in 1961
Bruce at his arrest in 1961
Bruce in 1963, after being arrested in San Francisco
Poster for Bruce's last series of performances, which took place at The Fillmore in San Francisco on June 24 and 25, 1966
Bruce's grave at Eden Memorial Park Cemetery in Mission Hills, California

His 1964 conviction in an obscenity trial was followed by a posthumous pardon in 2003.

Miller v. California

Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973), was a landmark decision of the US Supreme Court modifying its definition of obscenity from that of "utterly without socially redeeming value" to that which lacks "serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."

Howl (poem)

Poem written by Allen Ginsberg in 1954–1955 and published in his 1956 collection Howl and Other Poems.

Howl and Other Poems was published in the fall of 1956 as number four in the Pocket Poets Series from City Lights Books.
The administrative board of Yleisradio is getting ready to discuss the broadcast of “Howl” in December 1969.

Upon the poem's release, Ferlinghetti and the bookstore's manager, Shigeyoshi Murao, were charged with disseminating obscene literature, and both were arrested.

Miller test

The Miller test, also called the three-prong obscenity test, is the United States Supreme Court's test for determining whether speech or expression can be labeled obscene, in which case it is not protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and can be prohibited.

Lady Chatterley's Lover

Last novel, by English author D. H. Lawrence, which was first published privately in 1928, in Italy, and in 1929, in France.

1932 UK authorised edition
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Translator Sei Itō (left) and his publisher Hisajirō Oyama (right) at the first Chatterley trial in Japan.

The book was also banned for obscenity in the United States, Canada, Australia, India and Japan.

D. H. Lawrence

English writer and poet.

D. H. Lawrence, 1929
Lawrence at age 21 in 1906
Photograph of Lawrence by Lady Ottoline Morrell, 29 November 1915
D. H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire

Both novels were highly controversial and were banned on publication in the UK for obscenity, although Women in Love was banned only temporarily.

Freedom of speech

Principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanction.

Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)—Article 19 states that "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers".
Orator at Speakers' Corner in London, 1974
Permanent Free Speech Wall in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S.
Members of Westboro Baptist Church (pictured in 2006) have been specifically banned from entering Canada for hate speech.
Countries with laws against Holocaust denial
The Free Speech Flag was created during the AACS encryption key controversy as "a symbol to show support for personal freedoms".
Title page of Index Librorum Prohibitorum, or List of Prohibited Books, (Venice, 1564)
In Panegyricae orationes septem (1596), Henric van Cuyck, a Dutch Bishop, defended the need for censorship and argued that Johannes Gutenberg's printing press had resulted in a world infected by "pernicious lies"—so van Cuyck singled out the Talmud and the Qur'an, and the writings of Martin Luther, Jean Calvin and Erasmus of Rotterdam.
First page of John Milton's 1644 edition of Areopagitica, in which he argued forcefully against the Licensing Order of 1643
This 1688 edition of Jacobus de Voragine's Golden Legend (1260) was censored according to the Index Librorum Expurgatorum of 1707, which listed the specific passages of books already in circulation that required censorship
George Orwell statue at the headquarters of the BBC. A defence of free speech in an open society, the wall behind the statue is inscribed with the words "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear", words from George Orwell's proposed preface to Animal Farm (1945).
An "unexpurgated" edition of Lady Chatterley's Lover (1959)

Freedom of speech and expression, therefore, may not be recognized as being absolute, and common limitations or boundaries to freedom of speech relate to libel, slander, obscenity, pornography, sedition, incitement, fighting words, classified information, copyright violation, trade secrets, food labeling, non-disclosure agreements, the right to privacy, dignity, the right to be forgotten, public security, and perjury.

Potter Stewart

American lawyer and judge who served as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1958 to 1981.

Official portrait, 1976

In the obscenity case of Jacobellis v. Ohio (1964), Stewart wrote in his short concurrence that "hard-core pornography" was hard to define, but that "I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that."

Henry Miller

American novelist.

Miller in 1940
A 1957 watercolor by Miller.
Miller (1959)
Henry Miller's portrait of the actress Gia Scala shows different aspects of her.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Grove Press, Inc., v. Gerstein, citing Jacobellis v. Ohio (which was decided the same day in 1964), overruled the state court findings of obscenity and declared the book a work of literature; it was one of the notable events in what has come to be known as the sexual revolution.

Constitution of Oregon

Governing document of the U.S. state of Oregon, originally enacted in 1857.

Later in 1987, the court cited this provision when it abolished the state's obscenity statute in State v. Henry.