Privacy and Obscenity

Neil MacCormick

in Legal Right and Social Democracy

Published in print March 1984 | ISBN: 9780198255024
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681561 | DOI:
Privacy and Obscenity

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This chapter discusses whether there is a significant connection between privacy and obscenity. It examines whether the banning of obscene publications should be carried out, or whether abolishing legal restrictions on the use or dissemination of obscene materials should be favoured. From the outset a paradox, or at least an apparent paradox, must be faced. The paradox is that it appears possible either to argue that respect for privacy requires a regime of freedom in relation to the use and enjoyment of obscene materials, or to argue that respect for privacy requires legal controls upon their use and dissemination. Indeed, it may be possible to advance both arguments at the same time, by contending that up to a certain point the right of privacy entails a right to freedom from restraint in the use of obscene materials, but that beyond that point some legal restraints are required in the interests of privacy.

Keywords: privacy; obscenity; legal controls; right to freedom; legal restraints

Chapter.  9610 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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