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Obscene Publications Acts

The UK’s Obscene Publications Act 1959 and Obscene Publications Act 1964 (the Obscene Publications Acts) together represent obscenity laws governing the publication of what is broadly classed as material that tends to deprave or corrupt. This applies to a wide range of publications including mass market paperbacks, electronic media, photographs, and video material. However, what constitutes obscene material under the two acts and where the media and artists may fall foul of the acts is a complex matter that UK courts have been required to consider in some detail.

The criminalization of obscenity has a long history in the United Kingdom. The Obscene Publications Act 1857 was the original act defining obscenity and making the sale of obscene material unlawful. The case of R v Hicklin ...

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