Massachusetts law about obscenity and pornography

Laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on obscenity and pornography law.

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Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.272, § 28 Possession or dissemination of matter harmful to minors
As amended after American Booksellers injunction.

MGL c.272, § 28C Obscene books

MGL c.272,§ 29 Possession or dissemination of obscene matter

MGL c.272, § 29A Posing a child in a state of nudity

MGL c.272, § 29B Dissemination of child pornography

MGL c.272, § 29C Possession of child pornography

MGL c.272, § 31 Definitions of terms in laws above

MGL c.272, § 105 Photographing, videotaping or electronically surveilling partially nude or nude person or the sexual or other intimate parts of a person around the person's clothing; exceptions; punishment

Massachusetts jury instructions

Federal laws

18 USC 1460-1470 Obscenity

  • § 1466A Visual representations, such as drawings, cartoons, or paintings that appear to depict minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

18 USC 2252-2252C Material involving the sexual exploitation of minors

47 USC 223(d) Using a telecommunications device to send obscene material to a minor

47 USC 231 Restriction of access by minors to materials commercially distributed by means of World Wide Web that are harmful to minors

Federal regulations

47 CFR 73.3999 FCC Restrictions on the transmission of obscene and indecent material
Prohibits broadcast of obscene material at all times and indecent material between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Selected cases

Web sources

Broadcast of obscenity, indecency and profanity, Federal Communications Commission.
Includes information on FCC regulation of broadcasts and how to file a complaint.

Citizen's guide to US federal law on child pornography, U.S. Dept. of Justice.
A concise summary of federal laws and cases regarding child pornography.

Citizen’s guide to US federal law on obscenity, U.S. Dept. of Justice.
A concise summary of federal laws and cases on obscenity.

Golden Globe Awards order, Federal Communications Commission, 2004.
Even a single, fleeting, non-literal expletive use of the F-word in a broadcast is prohibited.

Print sources

Mass. Practice: 


Last updated: May 22, 2023

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