Possible 20 years in prison for owning manga? Support the CBLDF!

StudioZELStudioZEL ConnecticutRegistered User regular
edited December 2008 in Graphic Violence
This is just ridiculous! A man in Iowa is being prosecuted simply for OWNING manga??

http://www.cbldf.org/pr/archives/000372.shtml

Some editorials are available on Anime News Network as well.

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/editorial/2008-12-11/christopher-handley/jason-thompson

and

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/editorial/2008-12-11/christopher-handley/carl-horn

Excerpts:
Carl Horn wrote:
In less than two months, starting on February 2, 2009, a court case will begin in Iowa. The defendant, Christopher Handley, is facing as much as 20 years in prison for the charge against him. This is, as we say on the intarwebs: serious business. Twenty years? They must claim he did something really bad. Something really bad to someone, right?

Actually, he just ordered some manga from Japan. And...that's all he did.

Some of these manga contain images that are supposedly—according to the prosecutor—"obscene." But we'll put aside what kind of images they are claimed to be for the moment, because that isn't being decided anywhere but in this court case. And although we can debate it, there's no practical point in doing so here—because debating their content on ANN won't, and can't affect the outcome.

Maybe there are certain types of manga you'd never read or buy. Maybe you've got strong feelings about some kinds of manga, and you don't think they're right. In fact, you're pretty sure you don't even have anything like that in your collection.

But again, the problem is, if Christopher Handley loses this case, that will no longer be for you to debate, or decide. Picture someone else deciding.
Christopher Handley, a manga fan in Iowa, is currently in an unenviable position: he's the first comics or manga fan ever to face criminal charges for possessing manga to read in the privacy of his own home. He's currently facing obscenity charges, which could carry up to 20 years in prison. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, an organization which exists to defend free speech in comic books, is raising money to help with his case.
But Christopher Handley's case is, in some ways, more frightening than any of these cases. Most of us are not manga retailers or manga artists (although we may want to be). We're manga readers, and Christopher Handley is facing an obscenity charge for simply possessing and reading manga, like most of us. The only difference is, Christopher Handley must justify his private manga-reading choices to the world at large. Like a single person randomly picked out of a list of 10,000 file-sharers and sued by a corporation, he could be any one of us; he just had the bad luck to have the Postal Inspector search his mail. And if he is convicted, he won't just be fined or made to do community service: under the federal PROTECT act, designed for people who traffic in child pornography, he will be treated as a sex offender and a danger to his community.

Both editorials encourage us to donate to the CBLDF (Comic Book Legal Defense Fund), who is helping to represent Mr. Handley in this case. I just made my donation. Make yours.

http://www.cbldf.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=2

StudioZEL on
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Posts

  • wirehead26wirehead26 Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Not saying this isn't an important case but it could have gone in the comic news thread instead of it's own. Having said that I might actually donate some money to this.

    wirehead26 on
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  • NogsNogs Crap, crap, mega crap. Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    owning manga should be a crime.

    Nogs on
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  • wirehead26wirehead26 Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    owning manga should be a crime.

    Not a big fan huh? The only manga I have is two volumes of Berserk, the first volume of Crying Freeman and all the re-released Golgo 13 volumes, which are all fucking awesome.

    wirehead26 on
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  • VirralVirral Registered User
    edited December 2008
    That seems to be missing some pretty vital information, such as the content of this stuff he owned. I mean, for example, if it was some kind of kiddy porn that's really not OK even to read in the privacy of his own home.

    The way those editorials dances around it makes it pretty clear it's something foul, that's for sure.

    Virral on
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  • FellhandFellhand Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    pffft manga. What are they going to do to people who own Lost Girls?

    Fellhand on
  • A duck!A duck! Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2008
    Yeah, now I'm pretty curious as to which manga it was. I mean, if it was Mai-chan's Daily Life...

    A duck! on
  • wirehead26wirehead26 Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    That seems to be missing some pretty vital information, such as the content of this stuff he owned. I mean, for example, if it was some kind of kiddy porn that's really not OK even to read in the privacy of his own home.

    The way those editorials dances around it makes it pretty clear it's something foul, that's for sure.

    I kinda wondered why it took so long for the authorities to start looking at manga as an outlet for underage stuff. I'll look at the case more closely before I decide to help the guys defense.

    wirehead26 on
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  • durandal4532durandal4532 Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Eh, even if it was something horrid, I'd prefer we not police drawings of bad things.

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  • ManonvonSuperockManonvonSuperock Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    it would only be illegal if it were photographs, if not then lost girls would've been illegal. but yeah, not describing the content is some classic yellow journalism.

    ManonvonSuperock on
  • VirralVirral Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Here we go...
    ANN wrote:
    Eric Chase, the lead lawyer for an Iowa man accused of possessing obscene manga, indicated to MTV's Splash Page blog that some of the manga in question are yaoi. Christopher Handley was originally charged on May 8, 2007, and his case will go on trial on December 2.

    Chase told the Splash Page, "There is explicit sex in yaoi comics. And the men are drawn in a very androgynous style, which has the effect of making them look really young. There's a real taboo in Japan about showing pubic hair, so they're all drawn without it, which also makes them look young. So what concerned the authorities were the depictions of children in explicit sexual situations that they believed to be obscene. But there are no actual children. It was all very crude images from a comic book."

    Virral on
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  • ServoServo Registered User, ClubPA
    edited December 2008
    wirehead26 wrote: »
    Not saying this isn't an important case but it could have gone in the comic news thread instead of it's own. Having said that I might actually donate some money to this.

    I'm actually going to go ahead and allow this to stay on its own because I like free speech (even if it's defending things I would prefer not to read myself), and because the CBLDF deserves all the support it can get.

    Servo on
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  • VirralVirral Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Virral wrote: »
    Here we go...
    ANN wrote:
    Eric Chase, the lead lawyer for an Iowa man accused of possessing obscene manga, indicated to MTV's Splash Page blog that some of the manga in question are yaoi. Christopher Handley was originally charged on May 8, 2007, and his case will go on trial on December 2.

    Chase told the Splash Page, "There is explicit sex in yaoi comics. And the men are drawn in a very androgynous style, which has the effect of making them look really young. There's a real taboo in Japan about showing pubic hair, so they're all drawn without it, which also makes them look young. So what concerned the authorities were the depictions of children in explicit sexual situations that they believed to be obscene. But there are no actual children. It was all very crude images from a comic book."

    Seems to come down to whether or not it's ok to have images of what appears to be minors engaging in sex acts but claim that the characters are not in fact minors. Seems like a fine line to me, but I can certainly understand why a postal worker finding that kind of material would blow the whistle.

    Edit: Huh, that was wierd, somehow double posted AND quoted the first half of the original post... neat trick :)

    Virral on
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  • wirehead26wirehead26 Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    OK this guy should not be charged with anything. Hopefully this lawyer of his is competent cause I think even a novice attorney should be able to destroy the prosecutions or States case.

    Edit: Of course I'm talking out of my ass here as I know next to nothing about general law much less Iowa law.

    wirehead26 on
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  • VirralVirral Registered User
    edited December 2008
    wirehead26 wrote: »
    OK this guy should not be charged with anything. Hopefully this lawyer of his is competent cause I think even a novice attorney should be able to destroy the prosecutions or States case.

    Edit: Of course I'm talking out of my ass here as I know next to nothing about general law much less Iowa law.

    Well I don't know, maybe he shouldn't be convicted of anything but from what they're saying about this PROTECT law thing (which I'd never heard of I must say) it sounds like he should have been charged once they discovered the material.
    Handley was initially charged under the United States Code, which was amended by section 504 of the PROTECT Act to prohibit distribution or possession of "a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting," that —

    • ‘(1)(A) depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; and

    • ’(B) is obscene;

    If it appears to depict minors having sex and is "obscene" then that's all it takes to be charged. It would then be up to the courts to determine whether or not they are actually guilty of anything... which is exactly what's happening.

    It sounds like he really hasn't done anything wrong though, he's just done something that people might find objectionable. A lot of people seem to have trouble understanding that distinction, just because you don't like something doesn't mean you have the right to ban other people from accessing it.

    It's the same issue with censorship in Videogames here in Australia. We don't have an 18+ rating because the people in charge feel that violent or sexualised games are disgusting and not worth playing. So any game not deemed fit for a 15 year old is "refused classification" and therefore banned.

    Virral on
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  • wirehead26wirehead26 Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Looking at those two criteria from the PROTECT law he seems in the clear, assuming he can convince the judge that the characters were not underage and they weren't doing anything "obscene". And unless the manga featured rape I don't see how anyone, save for hardcore bigots, could view it as obscene. That bothers me also; Who gets to define "obscene"? The same people who define who's "rich" in America?

    wirehead26 on
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  • FCDFCD Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    It is extremely vague wording. I hate it when laws are written like that.

    FCD on
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  • Mai-KeroMai-Kero Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    dude's a pedophile

    Mai-Kero on
  • ServoServo Registered User, ClubPA
    edited December 2008
    Mai-Kero wrote: »
    dude's a pedophile

    yeah well so's your mom

    Servo on
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  • DJ EebsDJ Eebs Moderator mod
    edited December 2008
    I read one of the editorials, and the guy went off about how manga was being persecuted and posted examples. And like everyone was parents finding comics about girls getting raped and abused in their twelve year old's bedroom or in the kids section at the bookstore.

    Not that all manga is like that, but it's like, get better examples, dude!

    DJ Eebs on
  • ServoServo Registered User, ClubPA
    edited December 2008
    well, manga is bound up in a perception issue that affects american comics as well i.e. people who don't usually read comics often tend to think of them as child's literature. while comics in and from america are just recently (the past few decades) starting to move past that, japan has had hardcore fuck-and-suck books for the wage slave on the go for years. it's been an all-ages thing there forever, i mean. so uninformed retailers in america (and parents and school librarians and etc.) see "manga" and just think "comics" when really they should have far more firm distinctions between actual types of manga (and comics) if they really want to keep salacious material out of children's hands.

    Servo on
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  • FuruFuru Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Servo wrote: »
    well, manga is bound up in a perception issue that affects american comics as well i.e. people who don't usually read comics often tend to think of them as child's literature. while comics in and from america are just recently (the past few decades) starting to move past that, japan has had hardcore fuck-and-suck books for the wage slave on the go for years. it's been an all-ages thing there forever, i mean. so uninformed retailers in america (and parents and school librarians and etc.) see "manga" and just think "comics" when really they should have far more firm distinctions between actual types of manga (and comics) if they really want to keep salacious material out of children's hands.

    Our local library has Love Hina, a series with copious nudity and a cliffhanger that involves two characters getting ready for sex right in the children's section.

    Then again they also have Empowered there so maybe the Madison public library is just really dumb.

    Furu on
  • muninnmuninn Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Wow, that PROTECT law sounds retarded.
    Actually, it makes me very angry.

    muninn on
  • AccualtAccualt Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    The "obscene" part tends to be ignored as long as the objectionable material isn't being put on display in the public space. The only real concern is (1) (A) so fingers crossed the characters having tenticle sex aren't described as high school students in the manga.

    Accualt on
  • ZeromusZeromus Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Furu wrote: »
    Servo wrote: »
    well, manga is bound up in a perception issue that affects american comics as well i.e. people who don't usually read comics often tend to think of them as child's literature. while comics in and from america are just recently (the past few decades) starting to move past that, japan has had hardcore fuck-and-suck books for the wage slave on the go for years. it's been an all-ages thing there forever, i mean. so uninformed retailers in america (and parents and school librarians and etc.) see "manga" and just think "comics" when really they should have far more firm distinctions between actual types of manga (and comics) if they really want to keep salacious material out of children's hands.

    Our local library has Love Hina, a series with copious nudity and a cliffhanger that involves two characters getting ready for sex right in the children's section.

    Then again they also have Empowered there so maybe the Madison public library is just really dumb.

    Love Hina is definitely one of the worst things I've ever had the misfortune of reading (don't ask), but there isn't really any nudity (any private bits, even nipples, are always cleverly covered), and it has parental advisory warnings, so I say blame the library here.

    Zeromus on
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  • MunchMunch Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    In America, they came first for the furries, And I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a furry;

    And then they came for the yaoi-loving pederasts, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a yaoi-loving pederast;

    And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.

    Munch on
  • FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Munch wrote: »
    In America, they came first for the furries, And I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a furry;

    And then they came for the yaoi-loving pederasts, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a yaoi-loving pederast;

    And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.
    I laughed so hard at this, if only because the internet is only furries and yaoi-loving pederasts.

    Fencingsax on
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  • TeaSpoonTeaSpoon Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    So, am I still allowed to draw manga? I mean, I have a terrible sense of scale; someone might mistake the grizzly war veteran for a underaged cabin boy. They're just stick figures, but maybe I should start drawing them with pubic hair to make sure.

    It might all be for the best in the end.

    To create a safe and protected environment, it makes sense that pencils aren't allowed to make certain motions. To protect the children. The trick, I think, is to only express the socially acceptable parts of your being. In fact, we should ban all forms of expression that might harm our children, like rap music and socialist pamphlets. It's necessary; at least until we invent the machines that scan our brains for thought crime.

    It's the only way to be sure.

    TeaSpoon on
  • MunchMunch Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    All jokes aside, I do think prosecuting someone for the contents of a drawing, or a 3D render, or a wood carving, or whatever the fuck else, is completely ridiculous.

    Munch on
  • Sars_BoySars_Boy Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I think prosecuting him is dumb but

    i don't really want to help this guy

    Sars_Boy on
  • TeaSpoonTeaSpoon Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    But 4chan has given us so much! It's the world's single most important source of memes and pictures of cats with funny captions.

    It's time to give something back, Sars_Boy

    TeaSpoon on
  • Sars_BoySars_Boy Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    i really do not feel great about giving my money to a guy who probably would fuck little kids if it was legal

    Sars_Boy on
  • TeaSpoonTeaSpoon Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    It's not legal. So he won't fuck any children, little or otherwise, regardless of what your crystal ball says what would happen if EVERYTHING was different. You don't persecute people for being who they are, only for what they do. You're not giving your money to save that guy personally, but to protect the very important distinction between thought and action. And free speech.

    And all those other concepts I've failed to mention.

    [EDIT] No one is forcing you to donate money, so don't. This entire line of discussion is redundant.

    TeaSpoon on
  • ben0207ben0207 Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    90% of Manga readers outside of Japan are probably paedophiles, so he got lucky to face 20 years.

    95% of Manga readers inside Japan are definitely paedophiles.


    Also i would have more empathy for this case if he was importing something cool, like Walking Dead or anything with Warren Ellis.

    ben0207 on
  • nightmarennynightmarenny Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Last time I checked people are arrested for molesting children not finding them attractive. Because that would thought crime. No matter how disgusting we find those thoughts(a lot, eww) we cant arrest people for the urge. Its something they can't help and again would be thought crime. If this guy molests a kid or contributes to their exploitation(buying Kiddie porn) then go ahead and throw him in jail(or the criminally insane ward) but right now were talking about sending him to jail for having drawings. I don't want to envok Godwins Law but what are we facist's?

    nightmarenny on
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  • ben0207ben0207 Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I have nothing against faces, how dare you say I'm Facist.

    Also I'm going to go and draw vivd pictures of me raping your Mum with a metalworking drill. But that's cool with you, because it's just a drawing and so obviously meaningless.

    ben0207 on
  • VirralVirral Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Whether or not you agree with it, there is a law in the US saying it's not ok to have drawings of kids having sex. And he appeared to have that type of content, therefore he was arrested under that law.

    And speaking personally, I don't draw the distinction that some people clearly do between comics of children having sex and other types of child porn. I completely agree that it should be illegal, along with text stories and animation etc. To me it comes down to indulging some very sick and very wrong fantasies which should never be encouraged or indulged in any way, and while a manga format may be "victimless" I (without any scientific backing) worry that this may lead to an increased desire to indulged these fantasies in less "innocent" ways.

    Virral on
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  • nightmarennynightmarenny Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    ben0207 wrote: »
    I have nothing against faces, how dare you say I'm Facist.

    Also I'm going to go and draw vivd pictures of me raping your Mum with a metalworking drill. But that's cool with you, because it's just a drawing and so obviously meaningless.

    Its still not illegal. Thought crime.

    nightmarenny on
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  • ben0207ben0207 Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Virral wrote: »
    Whether or not you agree with it, there is a law in the US saying it's not ok to have drawings of kids having sex. And he appeared to have that type of content, therefore he was arrested under that law.

    And speaking personally, I don't draw the distinction that some people clearly do between comics of children having sex and other types of child porn. I completely agree that it should be illegal, along with text stories and animation etc. To me it comes down to indulging some very sick and very wrong fantasies which should never be encouraged or indulged in any way, and while a manga format may be "victimless" I (without any scientific backing) worry that this may lead to an increased desire to indulged these fantasies in less "innocent" ways.
    Me and you? We's like twins, on this.

    ben0207 on
  • StudioZELStudioZEL ConnecticutRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Virral wrote: »
    Whether or not you agree with it, there is a law in the US saying it's not ok to have drawings of kids having sex. And he appeared to have that type of content, therefore he was arrested under that law.

    And speaking personally, I don't draw the distinction that some people clearly do between comics of children having sex and other types of child porn. I completely agree that it should be illegal, along with text stories and animation etc. To me it comes down to indulging some very sick and very wrong fantasies which should never be encouraged or indulged in any way, and while a manga format may be "victimless" I (without any scientific backing) worry that this may lead to an increased desire to indulged these fantasies in less "innocent" ways.

    The problem with this line of thought is that your persecuting a person for thoughts/feelings/beliefs rather than actions. I've met people in my life that I hated so much I imagined myself murdering them and making the world a better place to live.

    But I didn't murder them, because I'm not a murderer.

    I've been in a position where a minor of 16 years of age has wanted to have sex with me, an adult. And she was extremely attractive too (despite age, she was fully developed). I won't lie and say the thought never crossed my mind, or that I never imagined how awesome it would be to have someone that young and ripe all to myself.

    But I didn't have sex with them, because I'm not sex offender.

    People have evil thoughts from time to time. We all do. What those evil thoughts are very from person to person, but the difference between people who are truly evil and those who are good are whether or not they chose to act on those evil impulses, thereby creating a victim or victims in the process, or watch and enjoy as victims suffer.

    Mr. Handley has done no such thing. There are no victims to speak of here; rather they are simply illustrations and nothing more. The reason it's dangerous to let something like this get out of hand is because typically, to quote a famous children's book:

    "If you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to want a glass of milk to go with it."

    Sure it starts with sex between characters who look like they could be minors in manga.
    Then it becomes all sex in manga.
    Then it becomes sexiness in manga
    Then it becomes violence in manga
    Then it becomes any of the above for American comics
    Which then becomes books
    Which then becomes music
    Which then becomes TV
    Which then becomes Movies
    Which then becomes speech.
    Which then becomes how we are allowed to look, dress, act, and socialize in our daily lives (just look at how many middle eastern countries treat their woman for an example of what I mean)

    You see, once you start the snowball rolling down the mountain, the ensuing avalanche becomes damn near impossible to stop, even if you started it with just an insignificant snowball no bigger than your fist. Seems harmless while it's in your hand, but let it roll out of control and the results can be catastrophic.

    And this is why the first amendment exists in the first place. It protects us from the tyranny of people in power telling us how we must think, act, feel, and behave without allowing any of us to think or feel for ourselves. It protects our right to be who we are without fear of persecution so long as we obey the letter of the law.

    And as far as I'm concerned, Mr. Handley has not disobeyed the letter of the law.

    StudioZEL on
  • ben0207ben0207 Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    That's a slippery slope argument and you know it.

    This isn't the thin end of the wedge for the gubmint to censor our thoughts and lives. It is simply 110% wrong to ever think of an underage character in a sexual way.* Doesn't matter that 99% of reades won't go out and rape some kids. It's still promoting the idea that underage people can be though of sexually, which is deeply wrong.




    *Funny anecdote: While watching Prince Caspian on DVD I had to pause it and check the age of the actress who played Susan. Taht's how seriously I take this.

    ben0207 on
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