Freedom of expression has contributed a great deal to the development and wellbeing of our society. In the exercise of the First Amendment right to free expression which everyone has, sex may be portrayed, and the subject of sex may be discussed, freely and publicly. Although material is not to be condemned just because it contains passages or sequences that describe or depict sexual activity, the courts have consistently held that the right to free expression does not extend to material which is considered to be obscene.
Obscene depictions of sexual conduct are subject to federal criminal laws regarding importation, transportation and distribution. CEOS works with the all the investigative agencies and the United States Attorneys' offices around the country to enforce these statutes. The United States Supreme Court, in Miller v. California , 413 U.S. 15 (1973), established a three-part test for determining whether a depiction can be deemed as obscene:
- Whether the average person would find that the piece, taken as a whole and applied to contemporary community standards, appeals to the prurient interest;
- Whether the piece depicts or describes sexual conduct in a patently offensive way, when applying contemporary community standards; and
- Whether the piece, on the whole, lacks any literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
Regardless of the prevalence of sexually explicit images in society, in the media and on the internet, the Miller test remains the standard by which depictions of sexual conduct are judged.
On the note of explicit and inappropriate material on the internet, consumers can take steps to ensure their continued protection from any material they may consider objectionable. For further information about how to easily conduct a hard drive clean up, visit this website.