Obscenity Charges: '2 Girls, One Cup' and 4 Years in Prison
We haven't seen it. You shouldn't. We're certainly not going to link to it. You could Google "2 Girls, 1 Cup," but there is a strong possibility that your soul will die after a few seconds of grainy YouTube footage. We'd recommend avoiding it.
So what is it? It was a scat fetish video that sexualized two women doing odd things with fecal matter (that was in a single cup). Bad times. The shock video quickly became a viral video sensation. It also drew a lot of attention to the video's distributor, Ira Issacs.
Issacs' day job is filming, selling, and distributing the sort of video that would make most people vomit: bestiality, scat porn, and other things of that ilk.
He calls it shock art. George W. Bush's administration called it "obscene."
According to the Daily Mail, the investigation and prosecution were the efforts of an anti-smut task force set up by the former president's administration. Though the task force no longer exists, the prosecution pressed forward through multiple mistrials until they finally convicted Issacs in April 2012.
One mistrial was declared after a series of explicit images were found on a personal website of the supervising judge, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. His collection included video of a man fornicating with a farm animal, reports the Daily Mail.
Two trials and three panels of permanently-damaged jurors later, a court actually managed to convict someone of obscenity in 2012. The most surprising aspect of this case is not the content of the videos - it's that anything can go "too far" in this day and age.
The rule applied in the case comes from the immortal Miller v. California case, where the test for obscenity was changed from "utterly without redeeming social value" to a three factor test:
(a) whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest,(b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law, and
- (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
So, should this be the last obscenity prosecution? After all, nearly 14 years ago, we had a blockbuster movie address sexual encounters between a man and a pie. Diarrhea gags in films have become so common they have reached cliché status.
The popular nature of "2 girls, 1 cup" and the fact that it was shared so often amongst acquaintances almost argues that Issacs' related films weren't beyond what we, as a community, can handle. On the other hand, the Internet makes it easy to share "obscene" material; perhaps page views don't reflect societal acceptance.
Either way, we're still not going to Google it.
- Ira Isaacs Sentenced in Adult Obscenity Case (FBI)
- The Legal Legacy of Aaron Swartz (FindLaw's Technologist)
- Rep. Zoe Lofgren Introduces 'Aaron's Law' to Amend CFAA (FindLaw's Technologist)
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