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GINZBURG V. UNITED STATES, 383 U. S. 463 (1966)

U.S. Supreme Court

Ginzburg v. United States, 383 U.S. 463 (1966)

Ginzburg v. United States

No. 4

Argued December 7, 1965

Decided March 21, 1966

383 U.S. 463


Petitioner Ginzburg and three corporations which he controlled were convicted of violating the federal obscenity statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1461, by mailing three publications: an expensive hardcover magazine dealing with sex, a sexual newsletter, and a short book purporting to be a sexual autobiography. The prosecution charged that these publications were obscene in the context of their production, sale, and attendant publicity. Besides testimony as to the merit of the material, abundant evidence was introduced that each of the publications was originated or sold as stock in trade of the business of pandering, i.e., the purveying of publications openly advertised to appeal to the customers' erotic interest. Mailing privileges were sought from places with salaciously suggestive names; circulars for the magazine and newsletter stressed unrestricted expression of sex, and advertising of the book which purported to be of medical and psychiatric interest, but whose distribution was not confined to a professional audience, dwelt on the book's sexual imagery. In finding petitioners guilty, the trial judge applied the obscenity standards first enunciated in Roth v. United States, 354 U. S. 476, and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

Held: Evidence that the petitioners deliberately represented the accused publications as erotically arousing and commercially exploited them as erotica solely for the sake of prurient appeal amply supported the trial court's determination that the material was obscene under the standards of the Roth case, supra. The mere fact of profit from the sale of the publication is not considered; but, in a close case, a showing of exploitation of interests in titillation by pornography with respect to material lending itself to such exploitation through pervasive treatment or description of sexual matters supports a determination that the material is obscene. Pp. 383 U. S. 470-476.

338 F.2d 12, affirmed.

Page 383 U. S. 464

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