Dirty Dozen List 2014 - Eric Holder header

The Problem

[Original 2014 description]

Why is Eric Holder on the Dirty Dozen List?

Mr. Holder refuses to enforce existing federal obscenity laws against hardcore adult pornography, despite the fact that these laws have been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and effectively enforced by previous attorneys general. Holder has initiated zero new obscenity cases aimed at commercial distributors of hardcore adult pornography, and has shut down the prosecution section in charge of such cases. As a result, pornographers have been given the green light to produce and distribute illegal, obscene pornography to children and adults.

Federal obscenity laws, which the U.S. Department of Justice refuses to currently enforce, prohibit distribution of hardcore, obscene pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite or hotel/motel TV and in sexually oriented businesses and other retail shops.

  • 18 U.S.C. 1461 Mailing obscene matter
  • 18 U.S.C. 1462 Importation or use of a common carrier to transport obscene matter
  • 18 U.S.C. 1464 Broadcasting obscene language
  • 18 U.S.C. 1465 Interstate transportation of obscene matter
  • 18 U.S.C. 1466 Wholesale and retail sale of obscene matter which has been transported in interstate commerce
  • 18 U.S.C. 1468 Distribution of obscene matter by cable or satellite TV
  • 47 U.S.C. 223 Making an obscene communication by means of telephone

Sections 1462 and 1465 cited above also prohibit distribution of obscenity on the Internet.

WARNING: There are graphic images and text descriptions shown in these sections.


Holder’s Refusal to Enforce Laws

Holder’s Refusal to Enforce Laws

  • Obscenity Prosecution Taskforce disbanded and obscenity section removed from website. The Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section now solely focuses on child pornography and not obscenity.
  • Politico: “Eric Holder accused of neglecting porn fight

Take Action

Pressure the DOJ to Enforce Obscenity Law

Public Health Harms of Pornography

Download the research summaries of studies on the harm of pornography

Tell DOJ to Investigate SeekingArrangement

Ask the DOJ to investigate SeekingArrangement for facilitating sex trafficking and prostitution.


The Dirty Dozen List has fostered incredible change—from legislation drafted to safety policies and features introduced and more.

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The Ninth Circuit’s order means that the court will consider legal protections for survivors of online sexual abuse and sexual exploitation.

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A significant victory that shows the continued trend of mainstream companies distancing themselves from Pornhub.

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