The Catholic University of America

Summary of District of Columbia Laws

Miscellaneous Laws

Obscenity Law

D.C. Code Ann. § 22-2201

The Law: This law declares certain obscene activities and conduct unlawful and closely resembles federal obscenity law. The law generally makes it illegal to sell, deliver, distribute, or provide, etc., any obscene or indecent materials or participate in making them or disseminating such material. The definition of obscene is considered to vary given the changing times and what is considered acceptable at that time. Hudson v. United States, 243 A.2d 903 (D.C. App. 1967). To be considered legally obscene, it must be proven that the material or performance: (1) appeals to a prurient interest in sex; (2) there is utterly no redeeming social value in the material; and (3) it violates contemporary national community standards. Hermann v. United States, 304 A.2d 22 (D.C. App. 1973).

Cross Reference: For federal law, see 18 U.S.C. pt. 1, ch. 71, §1460 et seq.


updated 2/18/08 RAB
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Page checked August 5th, 2010, FJL.