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Obscenity Law in England And The United States: A Comparative Analysis

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Title: Obscenity Law in England And The United States: A Comparative Analysis
Author: Davidow, Robert P.
Abstract: This article compares the current laws of obscenity – both statutory and judge-made law – in England and Wales with the United States Supreme Court’s delineation of constitutionally permissible obscenity laws in the United States. The similarities include a common judicial perception of the problem as one involving the need to distinguish socially valuable materials from corrupting and worthless materials. The differences are most pronounced in the procedural area. After an introduction, the article provides an outline of obscenity law in the United States, followed by an outline of obscenity law in England and Wales. Section two discusses areas of similarities in the countries’ laws, while section three discusses areas of difference in the countries’ laws. In the conclusion, the authors note that the major substantive difference in the treatment of obscenity in the United States and in England and Wales is that in England and Wales, the notion of obscenity is not restricted to sex, but can include violence and drug-taking. The authors posit that this difference highlights the different approaches taken by the courts in the two countries resulting from the existence of a written Bill of Rights in the United States and the absence of a Bill of Rights in England. An appendix, which provides a brief overview of the history of obscenity law, is attached after the conclusion.
Description: Co-author: Michael O'Boyle
Related Resources: Click to follow Hein Online link
Date: 1977

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