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Censorship and the Communications Decency Act Censorship suppression of words images or ideas that are offensive Offensive giving painful or unpleasant situations These two words can easily be looked up and defined when having to use them in a paper but trying to describe what should be censored and what is offensive is a daunting task There have always been huge debates over censorship that aims at the First amendment and whether it is constitutional for a group of people to decide what is right for the people Even before World War I there were attacks on what was considered offensive material Anthony Comstock head of the Society for the Suppression of Vice passed the first censorship law in 1873 The law forbade the mailing of anything in his opinion lewd obscene or indecent Zelezny 453 The controversy over censorship raged feverishly after WWI and until the Tariff Act of 1930 many literary classics were not allowed into the United States because of the obscenity contained in them Over a 15-year period which began in 1957 the Supreme Court made relaxed restrictions on obscene material Supreme Court decisions struck down many obscenity statues states responded by enacting laws prohibiting the sale of obscene materials to minors and the Supreme Court upheld them In 1973 and 1987 the Court decided that local governments could ban works if they were without serious literary artistic political or scientific value and were seen by local standards to appeal to prurient interest The case of Miller v California 1973 413 US at 24-25 tried to define and categorize what obscene and offensive meant The courts invented what was known as the Miller Test This test contained three parts which constituted a guideline to isolate hard core pornography and if each one of these parts was proven in court the material could be labeled obscene or offensive Some of the most popular censorship debates have dealt with the
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