EXPLICIT COMMUNICATION 7
SexuallyExplicit communication refers to any language or material thatincludes video and pictures that relate to sexual conducts with anunderage. It also involves the distribution of graphic materials to aperson who is below 17 years of age (Hawkins & Zimring 2011). Italso occurs when a person uses the Internet or commercial onlineservices to arouse the sexual desire of the other personintentionally and who he believes is minor. There are laws enactedthat help prevent the circulation of harmful contents to childrenthrough the internet. Courts in most countries have upheld these lawsby proving certain elements. First, the materials must be banned andfall under the definition of obscenity (Hawkins & Zimring 2011).The court must also show that the contents communicated were intendedto commit an illegal sexual offense. The judge must providesufficient evidence that a person intended to force an underage to asexual act.
Critiqueof the regulation of current obscenity laws
Obscenityis used to describe anything offensive to morals. It is related topornography. However, this word is limited because it only refers toerotic videos, magazines and recordings among others. Obscenitygeneralizes these conditions and includes pornography, sexuallyexplicit communications and nude dancing among others (Hawkins &Zimring 2011). It `s hard to determine what is obscene in Americabecause some lewd acts are protected by the First Amendment. It hascaused serious implications in the United States. According to thespeaker of the Republican Party, there is need to enforce the currentlaws on obscenity (Hawkins & Zimring 2011). There are millions ofporn sites and videos on the internet that destroy the communitystandards. The government is in a position to prosecute all theproducers of obscene materials and contents under the currentobscenity laws.
Thecurrent laws are faced with numerous challenges. Shutting down allthe producers of pornographic in the Unites States will not be ofhelp because the foreign sites will take over the market (Hawkins &Zimring 2011). The foreign distributors will make and supply theseobscene materials to the already existing stock in America. The otherchallenge is on copyrights. Prosecution of producers in the U.S.means that they cannot sue for copyright infringement and henceoversea distributors will have an advantage of using the copyrightsof previous owners.
TheMiller Test refers to a standard used to determine whether somethingis obscene. It comes from the ruling by Justice Warren Burger in thecase of Miller Vs California in 1973. Materials are consideredlegally obscene if they certify three critical conditions. First, theaverage person must prove whether the materials are porn according tothe community standards (Hawkins & Zimring 2011). The secondcondition tested is whether the materials are offensive in any wayand if they show sex. Finally, the court must show whether the worklacks serious political, scientific and literary value. It mustdemonstrate whether the work is otherwise useless.
Thelaw dictates that all the three conditions must be proved todetermine obscenity. If one condition if not met, the content is notconsidered as obscene under the law hence would be protected by law.The first two conditions relate to the standards of the communitywhile the third defines what is good for a person (Hawkins &Zimring 2011). The third condition oversees the community standardsallowing for the protection of work that may appear obscene to somepeople, but of value to the country as a whole. The Miller Test isfaced with the challenge of whether creative and scientific materialsare obscene. Some of the original work may depict sexual conduct in away that offends. However, such materials fail the Miler Test and arenot deemed obscene.
Communitystandards refer to notions that guide people`s ideas on the behaviorsthat are acceptable within the community. The term community is usedto refer to Internet users, country, college or a city among others(Hawkins & Zimring 2011). The standards could be written orinferred. Community standards are appropriate ways of determiningobscenity. It requires the judgment of an average person and the workof creative, art and literary value to be within the boundary ofdecency. It, therefore, means that either the person or the work canbe sued on grounds if the materials are proved to be obscene (Hawkins& Zimring 2011). The community standards require users to abideby the rules established and expel those who misbehave.
Communitystandards also demonstrate for fair treatment and respect to all.They are guided by six behavioral guidelines to warm people againsthate activities, as well as harassment. The six guidelines bestdetermine obscenity and help in shaping and encouraging people tomake their personal choices (Hawkins & Zimring 2011). The firstguideline is intolerance. It warns against the use of demeaninglanguage or pictures that refer to other ethnic groups on sexualorientation. The standards also warn against harassment. Behaviorsinvolving sexual advances are never allowed. The third element isassault. Inflicting fear to other people by pushing, shooting orusing objects in a manner that prevents one from enjoying life iscondemned.
Discloseelement guides community standards in determining obscenity. Everyoneis entitled to a particular level of privacy. Sharing of privateinformation concerning other people about their age, race, religionand sexual preferences is not allowed (Hawkins & Zimring 2011).The standard discourages adult materials, communication, andactivities. They should be on private areas that are designated foradults. Finally, disturbance of peace is considered an offenseaccording to the community standards. Disrupting events and undesiredcontents that slow down the server performance is not allowed.
Legislators’regulation of obscene material
Legislatorsuse different ways of regulating the expression of pornographic orerotic materials. They use time, manner and place restrictions. Thegovernment classifies certain areas as residential and commercial toprotect the public. It can also prohibit the establishment of stripclubs adult stores in locations that are close to learninginstitutions (Tan, 2010). Time restrictions apply when people expressthemselves. Legislators prohibit the use of certain materials, and atparticular times of the day. There are laws established prohibitingthe broadcasting of any obscene and indecent programs by means of anymedia available to the public domain. Place restriction regulates theareas where individuals express themselves. The law outlinesparticular field including traditional, limited and nonpublic forums(Tan, 2010).
Regularpublic places are areas preserved historically for the communicationand sharing of ideas. They include sidewalks, streets, and sidewalks.They are used by those who cannot afford other channels liketelevision to express their views. Limited public places areestablished to hold civic discussions (Tan, 2010). They includepublic universities and state fairs among others. Finally, non-publicareas refer to places where the government considers important toimpose restrictions. The law protects the public from accessingobscene materials in areas where they are resting or at working.Legislators regulate manner restrictions that include the mode ofindividual expression. Some people express themselves in a symbolicway that seems obscene. The court analyzes the symbolic message toidentify whether it is obscene or not (Tan, 2010). It, therefore,warns against such expressions and outlines that these are punishableunder the law.
Howfederal regulation control obscenity
Thefederal law attempts to control obscenity by outlining numerous lawsand enforcing commissions that issue civil monetary penalties tothose found guilty of obscenity. It states that the federal law isviolated when a company broadcasts obscene programs during certainperiods and hours (Tan, 2010). The Federal Communication Commissionis given the responsibility of ensuring that erotic materials are nottransmitted. The commission controls these companies and can revokeor deny the renewal of an application if it is convinced that thecompany intends to publish obscene materials. The federal laws givecourts the power to impose fines and imprison those convicted ofviolating the law (Tan, 2010). In addition, they are given temporallyorders to take actions on criminals of obscene contents whileawaiting the court orders.
Thefederal regulation has also attempted to control obscenity throughthe help of Enforcement Bureau. The Bureau has established steps thatassist in dealing with complaints related to indecency (Tan, 2010).It processes case relating to organizations that aired indecentcontents in accordance with the federal law. The Enforcement Bureauenforces statutory prohibitions of materials with respect tosatellite and cable services.
Hawkins,G., & Zimring, F. E. (2011). Pornographyin a free society.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Tan,S. (2010). Regulatingobscenity on the Internet: Comparative study of the laws in Singapore and the United States.