Talk:18 USC § 1470

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There's some fun Commerce Clause jurisprudence on this statute, isn't there, I think one of the parties is X-Citement Video, but I can't find it in my briefs...--AmesG 23:37, 13 March 2007 (EDT)

Was that a pun? --Scrap 05:16, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

The statute says "knowingly transfer". I'm no lawyer but I think this means they have to intend the content be delivered directly to someone under the age of 16. Just posting it here, while wrong, probably doesn't meet the requirements of the code. Also, I'd consult with a criminal lawyer before posting threats of legal action. Jrssr5 11:04, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

"Knowingly" imports a criminal mens rea requirement of recklessness or higher, so I don't know if posting here would support a conviction. Andy's the lawyer though, so I'd love to know if I'm wrong on the mens rea thing. It'd help me on exams ;-)--AmesG 11:13, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
"Knowingly" should be satisfied by posting a notice. If a criminal defendant wants to try to persuade a jury that he didn't see the notice on the Main Page, didn't see it in the Rules, didn't read the FAQ about how this site was founded, didn't read the stories about, didn't know that minors do use internet sites like this, and yet knew how to register and post obscene material, then he can make that argument. I'd expect it to take only about 30 seconds for a jury to reject that argument.
An increasing percentage of federal prosecutions is for obscenity over the internet, by the way. It's amazing to me why people think it's OK to do things over the internet that they would not do over the radio or in person.--Aschlafly 11:26, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
P.S. to Jrssr5: I am a criminal lawyer.--Aschlafly 11:28, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
He is, it's true. Asch, could you give me a cite for a similar case? I'm really curious... I'm taking Crim and I'd love to know how mens rea is constructed by a judge in a hypothetical case like this.--AmesG 11:42, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

Obscene material is not profanity

It refers to using mail to send X-rated materials to minors, not posting bad words on a free-use website.

You're wrong. 18 USC 1470 is applied to the internet, and whether the website is "free-use" or not is irrelevant.--Aschlafly 00:46, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
So, can you sue people who disagree with the premise of this "encyclopedia?" or, is the purpose of this comment to point out that nothing X-rated ought to appear here? I am just wondering because it seems if you intend to create something comprehensive, open and fair you will have to entertain that which is not. In, say, an article on lesbianism, would it be acceptable to include other terms, perhaps pejorative in nature, that you deem offensive? Further, would those who use so-called obscene material in their argument against such content also be subject to your prosecution?

Another example of this might be the recent comment by Anne Coulter. She is a popular pundit, but should her Edwards debacle be quoted in its entirety or must we censor the word "f----t" from all mention? Another question I have is then do we link to the obscene material or just allude to it, like "Coulter used a term that means gay to describe edwards" or something? Strange to have a comment like this on the main page. Menkatron 13:32, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

I think your statute would be unconstitutional as applied to this site

Reno v. ACLU, 521 U.S. 844--AmesG 00:45, 15 March 2007 (EDT)

Any more cases out there? Jrssr5 20:57, 15 March 2007 (EDT)
"The CDA was an attempt to protect minors from explicit material on the Internet by criminalizing the "knowing" transmission of "obscene or indecent" messages to any recipient under 18; and also the knowing sending to a person under 18 of anything "that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards, sexual or excretory activities or organs."" Okay, so if someone uses a foul word, what's the plan? How many lawsuits do you intend to begin? Doesn't this strike anyone as an abuse of the judicial system? Mostly, this description sounds like this is what you are hoping will happen. Menkatron 09:34, 16 March 2007 (EDT)
Like I stated before, I think this would be a waste of the court's time. I personally think lawyers who bring pointless cases against people (ie hot coffee spilled in your lap) should face consqeuences for their reckless suing and charges. Jrssr5 10:54, 16 March 2007 (EDT)
I don't believe the statute applies to general swear words or non-sexual offensive language. Otherwise, Fred Phelps would be arrested under this law. And thus, unless it's of a certain solicitous nature, obscenity on the internet cannot get one arrested. Penultimate 12:08, 30 January 2008 (EST)


No definition of obscene is given in 18 USC 1470, and there is no general list of definitions for Chapter 71: Obscenity either. In the context of CIPA, this web site discusses the Miller Test for Obscenity, the case law definition which applies when a specific definition is not given. Believe me, we are not talking about 4 letter words here. Also of interest is 18 USC 1460, also devoid of definitions, which states "Whoever ... knowingly sells or possesses with intent to sell an obscene visual depiction shall be punished by a fine in accordance with the provisions of this title or imprisoned for not more than 2 years, or both." So perhaps a workable definition of obscenity would be something which, if depicted visually, would be illegal to sell in the United States.

While you're reading 18 USC Chapter 71, why not take a look at 1461 which bans the mailing of Every obscene, lewd, lascivious, indecent, filthy or vile article, matter, thing, device, or substance; and— Every article or thing designed, adapted, or intended for producing abortion, or for any indecent or immoral use; and ... they're just getting started. It does on to deal with telling people where to get something thay can use for an indecent or immoral purpose, or even giving people ideas about an immoral use for something they already have. Seriously, folks could have a great time prosecuting half the population of the United States armed only with a few reasonably broad definitions and this law.

Finally, I know this site is intentionally "for Americans", but do consider that many users of this site are not in the United States, so threatening them with U.S. laws is unlikely to impress. Personally, I don't think having such things as a "welcome message" is going to impress anyone.

-- LD 13:07, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

category revision

The category needs to be changed to "Criminal Law". -_- Fuzzy|AFD 15:39, 28 March 2008 (EDT)


This article needs either the stub template or significantly more content. The law itself is not an article. -CSGuy 18:43, 6 August 2008 (EDT)

Unlock? Or fix category

Could this page be unlocked? The category 'Criminal law' is miscapitalized (should have a capital L). Thanks--CPalmer 15:12, 18 February 2009 (EST)