Mike Lee’s proposed obscenity bill sparks online outrage as adult film industry pushes back
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) is looking to reshape the Communications Act of 1934 with his newly proposed obscenity bill; a piece of legislation that could upend and eradicate the adult film industry.
According to Axios, "it would define it as content that depicts 'actual or simulated sexual acts with the objective intent to arouse, titillate, or gratify the sexual desires of a person" and lacks artistic or scientific value, according to a summary of the bill released by Lee."
In the wake of the Republican lawmaker's proposed bill, adult film industry leaders have expressed concern about the potential problems the bill could cause if lawmakers pass it.
The news outlet notes: "Obscene materials are not protected by the First Amendment" and the Miller test will likely be used as a measure to determine whether certain content can be defined as "obscene."
The Miller test, derived from the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court landmark case Miller v. California, "asks whether the average person would find the material, taken as a whole, appealing to 'prurient interest'; whether it's depicted in 'a patently offensive way' and whether it lacks 'serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.'"
According to the outlet, Lee's bill argues that the Miller test creates very difficult barriers for defining and prosecuting something considered to be obscene.
Speaking to Axios, Mike Stabile, Free Speech Coalition director of public affairs, explained what the bill could mean for the adult film industry. "It would basically criminalize 99% of nudity and sexually explicit content," Stabile said.
Per the outlet, Stabile said, "the bill is 'tremendously scary' for sex workers who create adult content online." He also noted that while he "doesn't believe the bill has a chance of moving forward," he warned that it is one that everyone should take it seriously.
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