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1965. Sexually Oriented Advertisements

Section 3008 of Title 39 allows an individual who has received a sexually oriented advertisement to request that the Postal Service issue an order directing the sender to: refrain from further mailings to the named addressees; delete the names of the designated addressees from all mailing lists controlled by the sender; and cease selling or renting the mailing lists bearing the names of the designated addressees. If the Postal Service believes that such an order has been violated, it shall serve a complaint on the sender and request a response. After a hearing, if requested by the sender, the Postal Service can request the Attorney General to apply to a District Court for an order directing compliance. Failure to comply with such an order may be punishable by the court as contempt. Such prohibitory orders, as described in 39 U.S.C. § 3008, are the preferred method of obtaining compliance. The order can be enforced either by contempt or by prosecution under 18 U.S.C. § 1737. Knowledge is also easier to prove.

Section 3010 of Title 39 requires a sender of sexually oriented advertisements to place on the envelope his/her name, address and notice of the sexually explicit nature of its contents. Any person may file a form with the Postal Service stating a desire not to receive sexually oriented advertisements. The Postal Service shall maintain a list of the names and addresses of such persons and shall make it available to any sender. No person shall mail a sexually oriented advertisement to any person whose name has been on the list for more than 30 days.

Section 1735 of Title 18 prohibits anyone from willfully mailing a sexually oriented advertisement in violation of 39 U.S.C. § 3010. It imposes a maximum five years' imprisonment and/or fine for the first offense and a maximum 10 years and/or fine for any offense thereafter.

Section 1737 of Title 18 prohibits anyone from manufacturing any sexually related mail matter, intending or knowing that such matter will be deposited for mailing in violation of 39 U.S.C. § 3008 or § 3010. It imposes a maximum five years' imprisonment and/or a fine for the first offense and a maximum 10 years' imprisonment and/or a fine for any offense thereafter.

[cited in USAM 9-75.001]

Updated May 22, 2015