Tomorrow at Nanny of the Month! Today at Should Obscenity be Illegal?

Check back tomorrow morning for's Nanny of the Month. You won't believe who it is. Or, more accurately, you'll totally believe who it is and why picked them. For past Nannies of the Month, go here.

And today on Should Obscenity be Illegal?

Porn producer John Stagliano faces up to 32 years in federal prison for distributing the adult films Milk Nymphos and Storm Squirters 2: Target Practice and a promo reel for similar material via his website for Evil Angel Productions (adults only). (Full disclosure: Stagliano is a donor to Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes this website.)

As Stagliano gears up for a court case due to begin this July in Washington, D.C., it's worth asking whether obscenity prosecutions make any sense, especially when dealing with material created and consumed by consenting adults in private. The definition of obscenity is notoriously slippery—works as varied (and sexually inoffensive) as Lady Chatterley's Lover, Ulysses, and I Am Curious Yellow have all been deemed obscene—and its prosecution is famously subjective and selective. Material is considered obscene only when a jury finds it to be so; the same book, movie, or song can be illegal in one region and totally fine in another. As Stagliano, whose website followed all legal restrictions imposed by federal mandates, notes, "I didn't know I was breaking the law."

Despite the liberating technology of the Internet, free expression remains under attack by religous zealots who threaten death to blasphemers and government regulators who threaten jail time. The prosecution of porn is "another area where the government thinks it should be able to run our lives," says Stagliano. "They could easily extend that from looking at porn to consuming fast food" and other activities.

"Should Obscenity be Illegal?" is produced by Dan Hayes and Nick Gillespie, who also hosts. Approximately 6.15 minutes.

Scroll down for downloadable versions and subscribe to's YouTube channel to receive automatic notification when new material goes live.

For a 2008 interview about the case, go here.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Thats absurd, they are just words. Gimme a F$#@*ng break LOL


  • ||

    anonbot likes pornlit

  • The Art-P.O.G.||

    Probably gets off on schematics like Bender as well.

  • ||

    GREAT facial expression there by the way Nick.

  • Almanian||

    The still before you click on the video looks like William Shatner preparing to speak MacArthur Park or something. Awesome

  • ||

    he looks like he's either taking a dump, or doing a Godfather impression.

  • Rich||

    Just got this message when I tried to view the video. Way to crack down on teh pron!

  • Barack Obama||

    All part of My Master Plan.

  • BMB||

    "Like me, you may have never purchased a porn DVD."

    I'm with 'ya, Nick. VHS is still the way to go.

  • bmp1701||


  • BakedPenguin||

    I wonder if they're going to ban Takashi Miike next. He has a few films with projectile lactation, including Gozu and Visitor Q. (BTW, Visitor Q is probably the most disturbing film I've ever seen. If you want to be scarred for life, check it out.)

  • Paul||

    I may not be able to define a hot chick, but I know one when I see one.

  • ||

    Like the Meese Comission on Pornography, the current prosecution seemed to be based on the definition of Obscenity as: "I'll know it when I see it".

  • economist||

    The fuck? They can actually jail you for that?


Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.