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Criminal Resource Manual 1963 Distribution Of Obscene Matter -- Statutes
Distribution of Obscene MatterStatutes
Section 1461 of Title 18 declares every obscene article to be nonmailable matter, and imposes upon anyone who knowingly uses the mails to advertise, give notice of, carry or deliver such material or knowingly takes such material from the mails for the purpose of circulating it, a maximum five years' imprisonment and a fine for the first offense and a maximum 10 years' imprisonment and a fine for each offense thereafter.
Section 1462 of Title 18 prohibits anyone from: importing obscene material using an express company or other common carrier or interactive computer service; carrying obscene material in interstate or foreign commerce; and taking obscene material from an express company or common carrier or interactive computer service. It imposes a maximum five years' imprisonment and a fine for the first offense and a maximum 10 years' imprisonment and a fine for each offense thereafter.
Section 1463 of Title 18 imposes a maximum five years' imprisonment and a fine upon anyone who deposits for mailing or takes from the mails for the purpose of circulating, any material that carries obscene or indecent language or delineations upon the envelope or outside cover and upon all post cards.
Section 1464 of Title 18 imposes a fine or a maximum two year sentence upon anyone who utters any obscene language by means of radio communication.
Section 1465 of Title 18 prohibits anyone from knowingly transporting in interstate or foreign commerce or interactive computer service any obscene book, pamphlet, picture, film, or phonograph recording, for the purpose of sale or distribution. It also includes the rebuttable presumption that such publications and articles are intended for sale or distribution if the transportation included two or more copies of an obscene publication or article described above or a combined total of five such publications and articles. It imposes a maximum five years' imprisonment and/or a fine.
Section 1466 of Title 18 imposes a maximum sentence of five years and/or a fine on anyone who engages in the business of selling or transferring obscene matter. As used, the term "engaged in the business" means that the person who sells or transfers or offers to sell or transfer obscene matter devotes time, attention, or labor to such activities, as a regular course of business, with the objective of earning a profit. A rebuttable presumption is created that the offering for sale or transfer at one time includes two or more of any obscene article, or a combined total of five or more such publications and articles.
Section 1467 of Title 18 provides for criminal forfeiture of property of a person convicted of an offense involving obscene material, including the obscene matter, property traceable to gross profits or other proceeds obtained from such offense, and any property used or intended to be used to commit or to promote the commission of such offense.
Section 1468 of Title 18 provides for a maximum two year sentence and/or fine for whoever knowingly utters any obscene language or distributes obscene matter by means of cable television or subscription services on television.
Section 1469 of Title 18 describes rebuttable presumptions that the matter in question was transported, shipped, or carried in interstate or foreign commerce.
Section 1470 prohibits the use of the mails, or facility of interstate or foreign commerce to knowingly transmit, or attempt to transmit, obscene materials to minors under the age of 16. The individual transmitting materials may be fined, imprisoned for 10 years, or both.
[updated April 2000] [cited in USAM 9-75.001]
Updated February 19, 2015