09 December 2009

Show Me!

And while we're at it: is the book Show Me! child pornography? I mean the book was published as a sex education guide. On the other hand, it does depict children engaged in sexual activity.

So, does the educational value outweigh the fear of it being child pornography?
In 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision, New York v. Ferber,458 U.S. 747 (1982), which allowed the government to constitutionally ban the knowing distribution of even non-obscene "child pornography". Citing a chilling effect, St. Martin's Press then pulled the book, stating that though they believed Show Me! was not pornographic, they could no longer afford the legal expenses to defend it, and they did not want to risk criminal prosecutions of their own personnel and/or vendors who sold the book. The Court overruled a decision of the New York Court of Appeals, The People v. Paul Ira Ferber, which held that the First Amendment protected the dissemination of non-obscene sexual depictions. Show Me! was not the direct subject of the Ferber case, but the book was prominently featured by both sides in the litigation, and it played a significant role in the oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court.