Saturday, December 07, 2002

For those interested the legal standards applied to obscenity and what degree of literature would fall into that standard, here is the Miller test. There are three requirements here and the first two must be satisfied in order to determine that a work is obscene. Note that the first two requirements here are based on "contemporary standards" (this approach was determined in 1973 in the case Miller versus California, however "contemporary standards" here are defined as when faced with deciding whether a work appeals to the prurient interest or is patently offensive, jurors must use their own sense of what they feel is prurient and patently offensive) and the third requirement is more of a nationalistic standard; in other words, a work that is offensive in say, Memphis cannot be inoffensive (is that a word?) in Tallahassee. The standards are as below:

1. Whether the average person applying contemporary community standards would find the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest.

2. Whether the work depicts or describes in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law.

3. Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific values.

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