Dissemination or Possession of Obscene Matter

Handcuffs and keyboardMassachusetts General Laws Chapter 272 sec. 29 makes it a crime to either disseminate or posses obscene matter. The prosecution must prove the following in order to convict someone of dissemination or possession of obscene matter :

  • The matter possessed or disseminated is obscene
  • The defendant had the intent to disseminate or possession the obscene matter
  • The defendant knew the material was obscene

The word “matter” means any of the following: movies, prints, visual or sound recordings, photographs, computer files, jpegs, mp3, magazine, visual representations, statutes. Someone “disseminates” obscene matter when they “import, publish, produce, print, manufacture, distribute, sell, lease, exhibit, or display” it. The dissemination does not need to done for commercial purposes or in a commercial setting. Someone can be found guilty of this offense if they dropped obscene photographs on the sidewalk knowing or expecting that someone would see the images.

Matter is considered “obscene” if it portrays sexual acts in a patently offensive way, lacks serious artistic/sceientfiic/political/literary value, or arouses or appeals to sexual desires.


Anyone convicted of dissemination or possession of obscene matter faces up to 5 years in state prison or 2.5 years in the house of correction. They also face a fine between $1,000 and $10,000. The fine increase on each subsequent offense.

If You Have Been Charged With Dissemination or Possession of Obscene Matter, Talk Privately for Free with an Experienced Boston Defense Lawyer

Sex offenses are extremely serious criminal charges that can have a devastating and lasting impact on your life if you are convicted.  Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your case you have the same rights as anyone else when it comes to the law.  We want to hear to your side of the story and will aggressively challenge any evidence that was obtained illegally or that may not be conclusive, and work hard to get your charges reduced or dismissed.  Our lawyers are experienced trial lawyers and former prosecutors who know how the system works, and how to get you the best possible outcome in your case.

Boston Criminal Defense Attorneys for Criminal Appeals and New Trials

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