ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Obscenity Laws and Music-Part 3: Solutions

Updated on September 3, 2020
Mark O Richardson profile image

Mark loves listening to music and has hundreds of CDs. His favorite bands are Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode, and Stereophonics.



Overall, that the government has handled the cases involving music and obscenity well. Sex and violence affect every medium, so there needs to be some sort of regulation, otherwise things would get out of control. But the problem is how can limits be made without violating free speech? Ratings and parental advisories have worked well.

So, the government, courts, and parents find it a problem trying to restrict music in their lyrics and message. Many people hope that the musicians will use self-censorship. Perhaps it would help if musicians were encouraged to create music that is positive and inspires.

Self-censorship can be an option. It would not restrict adults from buying sound recordings, nor restrict artists from creating recordings. Labeling records does not constitute prior restraint for the artists (Soundgarden v. Eikenberry, 123 Wash. 2D 750 (1994)).

Wal-Mart censors the music that they sell. This is not a big problem, because people can still purchase the unedited versions somewhere else. However, there is a problem in rural areas because locally owned shops cannot compete with Wal-Mart’s low prices (Nichols, 2003). Wal-Mart is good if the customer wants an edited version of an album.

The government needs to update the Miller test or any other tests that are used on music. Society is not as conservative as it was when the Miller test came to be. It should be up to each state or even city, because some areas of the country are more conservative than others.

An important part of this is to decide who will determine if a work is obscene. Perhaps people from different backgrounds. With music, it could include musicians of different styles. A panel of people could evaluate the works.

All people are different, so some things will offend some, and not offend others. Most would agree on certain things to be offensive, such as pedophilia. Those who evaluate can build upon this, as well as if a work has value or lacks it.


Obscenity is a hot topic, and it is important that it be addressed. Many in society blame obscenity in music for being the cause of law breaking. This needs to stop. People need to take responsibility for their own actions and be accountable. Everyone should be his/her own judge when it comes to which mediums, he or she would pay attention to. We always have choices when it comes to our actions.

The government has made the laws about obscenity and music. A reason for this is that structure is good. Musicians should be mindful of their music and put effort into creating something artistic, not sound that will shock or offend. There needs to be a new test for music and other media to find out if it is obscene. The Miller test should be modified or updated.



Bicket, Douglas. (1998, December) Drifting Apart Together: Diverging Conceptions of Free Expression in the North American Judicial Tradition. Communications & the Law. Vol. 20, Issue 4, p.1-38.

Linz, D. & Donnerstein, E. (1995) Discrepancies between the legal code and community standards for sex and violence. Law & Society Review. Vol.29 Issue 1, p.127, 42p.

The Entertainment Litigation Reporter. (1990, November 12) 2 Live Crew Acquitted in Florida Obscenity Case.

The Entertainment Litigation Reporter (1991, January 14) Freeman Fined $1,000 for Selling 2 Live Crew Album.

The Entertainment Litigation Reporter (1992, June 22) 11th Circuit Finds 2 Live Crew Album is not Obscene; First Amendment: State of Florida v. Campbell.

Hammond, Allen S. (1996) Indecent Proposals: Reason, Restraint and Responsibility in the Regulation of Indecency. Villanova Sports and Entertainment Law Journal. Vol. 3, Issue 259.

Holston, N. (1999, May 9) As violence grows, critics debate notion of censorship. Star Tribune, pp. F1.

Hutchison, Robin. (2003, January 6) Cops Tell Music Bosses to Curb Gun Culture; Ban the Gangstas. Daily Star. P. 7.

The Legal Intelligencer. (1995, January 27) Legislation. P.6.

Lury, Alexis A. (1999, Fall) Time to Surrender: A Call for Understanding and the Reevaluation of Heavy Metal Music within the Contexts of Legal Liability and Women. Southern California Review of Law and Women’s Studies. Vol. 9, Issue 155.

Perry, Robert J. (1992, June 26) Important Ruling in the War Over Pop Music Censorship. New York Law Journal. P. 5

Nichols, John. (2003, May 27) Wal-Mart is a Threat to Stoughton. Capital Times (Madison, WI). P. 8A

Pember, Don R. (2003) Mass Media Law, p.439-441, 449.

Soundgarden v. Eikenberry, 123 Wash. 2d 750 (1994)

Tuite, Patrick. (1992, May) Senate Bill Awarding Obscenity Damages’ Fit for Censorship. Chicago Lawyer. P. 11.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Mark Richardson


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)