In the mid-1950s, a small-time New York publisher named Samuel Roth was indicted for distributing books, magazines, photos and advertising circulars that were accused of being "obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy and of an indecent character." The precise content of Roth's offensive mailings has been lost to history, although it's probably tame by modern standards. Nevertheless, a federal jury in New York concluded that the publisher violated a law barring distribution of pornography, and the court sentenced Roth to five years in prison. The case eventually made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1957, the justices upheld Roth's conviction, in a landmark ruling that obscenity is not entitled to First Amendment protection. The court said that the law had always assumed sexual material is not covered by the Constitution's free speech provision, so its ruling merely codified that assumption. The Roth decision placed obscenity in the tiny category of exceptions to First Amendment freedom, along with incitement and fighting words.