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
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 supposedlyâ€”according to the prosecutorâ€”"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 hereâ€”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