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1st December
2008
  

Dangerous Anime...

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US obscenity case about possession of comic books

Look through your comic book collection. Do you have Alan Moore's Lost Girls ? Any of S. Clay Wilson's Underground Comix ? Even Neil Gaiman's Sandman series? If the prosecution of manga collector Christopher Handley sticks, all of that and more could be considered obscene, Gaiman told MTV.

I wrote a story about a serial killer who kidnaps and rapes children, and then murders them, Gaiman said, referring to a storyline in The Doll's House . We did that as a comic, not for the purposes of titillation or anything like that, but if you bought that comic, you could be arrested for it? That's just deeply wrong. Nobody was hurt. The only thing that was hurt were ideas.

Gaiman's currently supporting the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's fight to defend Handley, who was arrested in Iowa for possession of obscene material based on his private collection, which included lolicon and yaoi manga. Lolicon focuses on the Lolita complex, where yaoi features male homosexual romance for a primarily female audience.

There is explicit sex in yaoi comics, Handley's lawyer Eric Chase told MTV. 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.

Despite the argument that there was no actual children portrayed in the manga, Handley faces felony obsenity charges, including the receipt and possession of obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children. The case is going to trial on December 2. The jury will determine whether the manga is obscene or if it has artistic value. If found guilty of the charges against him, Handley faces a five-year mandatory minimum sentence.

 

14th February
2010
  

Update: Cartoon Justice...

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US man jailed for 6 months for possessing Japanese anime

US Dept of JusticeA US comic book collector has been sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty to importing and possessing Japanese manga books supposedly depicting illustrations of child sex and bestiality [presumably referring to the usual many tentacled monsters].

Christopher Handley was sentenced in Iowa almost a year after pleading guilty to charges of possessing obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children. Without a plea deal with federal authorities, he faced a maximum 15-year sentence.

The man was charged under the 2003 Protect Act, which outlaws cartoons, drawings, sculptures or paintings depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, and which lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. Handley was the nation's first to be convicted under that law for possessing cartoon art, without any evidence that he also collected or viewed genuine child pornography.

Comic fans were outraged, saying jailing someone over manga does not protect children from sexual abuse. I'd say the anime community's reaction to this, since day one, has been almost exclusively one of support for Handley and disgust with the U.S. courts and legal system, Christopher MacDonald, editor of Anime News Network, said in an e-mail.

Congress passed the Protect Act after the Supreme Court struck down a broader law prohibiting any visual depictions of minors engaged in sexual activity, including computer-generated imagery and other fakes. The high court ruled that the ban was too broad, and could cover legitimate speech, including Hollywood productions.

In response, the Protect Act narrows the prohibition to cover only depictions that the defendant's community would consider obscene.

 

31st July
2010
  

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MPAA break off talks with Bob Kerrey

MPAA logoIt's back to square one for the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

After months of negotiations with former Nebraska Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey to become head of the movie industry's chief lobbying arm in Washington, talks broke down between the two.

The MPAA declined to elaborate on why negotiations had ended.