Prior restraint  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Prior restraint is a legal term related to censorship in the United States referring to government actions that prevent communications from reaching the public. Its main use is to keep materials from being published. Censorship that requires a person to seek governmental permission in the form of a license or imprimatur before publishing anything constitutes prior restraint every time permission is denied. More recently, prior restraint has often taken the form of an injunction or other governmental order prohibiting the publication of a specific document or subject. Sometimes, the government becomes aware of a forthcoming publication on a particular subject and seeks to prevent it. In other cases, the government attempts to halt ongoing publication and prevent its resumption. These injunctions are also usually considered to be cases of prior restraint, because future publications are stopped before they start.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Prior restraint" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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