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Music Censorship Musicians, recording companies and fans are all

Musicians, recording companies and fans are all concerned with the issue of music censorship. These people are pitted against the government officials and community organizations who are seeking to stamp out what is considered to be "obscenity" in popular music. However, problems arise in seeking an adequate definition of obscenity as it applies to artistic works. The Supreme Court definition for obscenity in art was reached in the 1973 case entitled Miller versus California. In that case, it was decided that obscenity is a community issue and that it must be determined on the basis of local, as opposed to federal, standards. In addition, the Supreme Court decided that, in order for a product to be obscene, it must be "patently offensive... [and] it also must appeal to prurient interests and lack serious artistic merit." Controversies arise in seeking a definition for what constitutes artistic merit. Obviously, value in art is a very subjective thing. Some people will derive pleasure or insights from a work which others will find disgusting, disturbing or unappealing. Therefore, the issue of music censorship has become a topic of heated debate.

The topic of censorship in music is not something new. For example, in 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono were censored when they released an album entitled Two Virgins. The cover of that album showed the two artists with full-frontal nudity. With this image, Lennon and Ono were seeking to make an artistic statement about the innocence of their new-found love. Nevertheless, because of the nudity, record stores were forced to conceal the cover in a brown paper bag. Various other censorship issues arose since that time, but few artists of the 1970's and early 1980's were as daring as John Lennon in making this type of controversial statement. However, by the mid-1980's, questions of censorship had become a hot topic throughout the music business. The 1980's saw the rise of a numbe...

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