Is it Legal to Possess Pornographic Materials?
There is a lot of information about pornography on the internet and the explosion of pornographic materials. A question often comes up as to what is legal and what is not legal when it comes to pornography.
Possession of pornographic materials isn’t necessarily illegal, yet the law does regulate “obscene materials.” Depending on what is depicted in the photo or video, it may be considered obscene and consequently illegal. So, when is a photo or video illegal? In 1973, the Supreme Court established a test to determine whether materials are considered obscene. For material to be considered “Obscene” it must satisfy three requirements.
- Whether the average person applying the standards of their community finds the materials abnormal, morbid, unhealthy;
- Where the average person applying the standards of their community, finds that the materials depict or describe sexual conduct in an offensive way; and
- Whether a reasonable person finds that the matter lacks a legitimate value.
The law doesn’t criminalize the private possession of obscene materials, but restrictions do apply to public uses. Federal law restricts selling, transporting and creating obscene materials. There are restrictions on the physical transportation of obscene materials as well as transferring and selling on the internet. Any business practices involving the sale, production and distribution of obscene materials are subject to federal laws and restrictions. Violation of these laws could result in both fines and prison time.