I just skimmed the Wiki article on US obscenity law, and all the cases are from decades back. What would still be considered obscenity today and prosecuted as such?

While my question is general to all cases of obscenity, I'm particularly interested in things that would be considered illegally obscene, but that aren't violations of other laws. For example, images of bestiality would also be illegal for animal abuse. I'm interested in what can still make something obscene without involving other crimes.

1 Answer 1


As far as I can tell, the established category of "obscene" material is child pornography, and the most current relevant case is US v. Williams, 553 U.S. 285. The relevant law is 18 USC 2252A which refers as a subcase to "an obscene visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct". Obscenity is not actually a requirement for conviction under the law, it suffices for material to be non-obscene "child pornography" (Osborne v. Ohio, 495 U.S. 103). Outside of the realm of child pornography laws, there don't appear to be any cases of tenable laws against "obscenity" from the past 25 years. The Miller test (Miller v. California, 413 U.S) potentially applies to cases not involving children, but nothing recent clearly establishes a concrete category of prohibited materials.

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