Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s Massive Manga Giveaway!

October 12th, 2011


Manga is not a crime! Right now an American citizen is facing a minimum sentence of one year in a Canadian prison because customs authorities wrongly allege that horror and fantasy manga on his computer are child pornography. The CBLDF is helping him by assisting in legal strategy and by raising money to offset his legal fees, which are expected to reach $150,000.

Join the effort to defend this case by visiting the CBLDF’s table in Manga Artists Alley and signing up for membership! When you do, we’ll enter you into our Massive Manga Giveaway!  Raffle tickets will also be available for purchase at the CBLDF table in the Exhibitor’s Hall.

The top publishers in the manga industry, including Viz, Seven Seas, Vertical, Yen, Dark Horse, DMP, Kodansha, and ALC Publishing have contributed prize packages for teen and adult readers for each day of the show. Come learn about the CBLDF’s efforts to protect your freedom to read manga, and take home amazing books!

Titles include: Tenjo Tenge Dance in the Vampire Bund, A Certain Scientific Railgun, Strawberry Panic! Complete Light Novel Collection Lychee Light Club, Chi’s Sweet HomeHigh School of the Dead Yotsuba! WORKS, Rica ‘tte Kanji!?, Yuri Monogatari, Volume 3,4,5,6, and selections from CLAMP

Send to Kindle

28 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Any way to participate if we are not in New York?

  2. Not in the raffle, you have to be at NYCC for that. But in defending freedom to read, definitely: http://cbldf.org/contribute/membership/

    Becoming a member starts as low as $25.

  3. emma says:

    I’d like to know what it was he was reading! None of the news articles say. If it was like, Mahon sensei negima, fine, I’ll donate. But if it was actual Lolicon, as it might well have been then frankly? I think it should be illegal. And I don’t think there’s a risk of anyone getting something innocuous like, idk, Girlfriends mixed up with some horrible tentacle rape thing. Illustrated or not, people should exert some moral judgement over what they read, and if it WAS LoLicon, then that guy should have known better. Japan is the perfect example of what happens when that faculty fails, and I think their new anti-porn laws are coming not a moment to soon. Panties in vending machines? Entire cons where there’s public selling of images of children being raped and tortured? I mean, how do you even defend that? Why would you want to? And I do not want it over here.

  4. Felix says:

    You know, in the right minds (or is that the wrong minds?) Girl Friends could be classified as child porn. Once you start ciminalizing fictional comics that are 100% child porn, you have to do the same to works that have only one pannel out of the entire work that could be considered child porn. Would you consider pictures of two real almost completely naked, maybe not 18, teenage girls passionly kissing and rolling around in a sexual embrace child porn? Mari and Akkio were doing just that at the end of Girl Friends. Sure it could be considered solfcore, but if it is of real girls and they are not over 18 its still child porn. Hell for all we know it was Girl Friends that got him nicked by customs!

    In my opinion it doesn’t matter what he was carrying, since it is all fiction. It could have been the most innocent work ever. It could have been the most depraved work of porn ever created by human minds. It doesn’t matter, because in the end it is just a bunch of ink on a page. It’s humans that do despicable things. Not comics, or books, or cartoons, or video games, or roll playing games, humans. Humans have done horrible things long before any of those things existed.

  5. emma says:

    It does matter. I know that “a picture of a pipe is not a pipe” but the guy who prints it out and tries to smoke it, is a smoker. Whether or not children are actually abused in the making of these images, the images are of child abuse, the person whacking off to them is a paedophile. CBDLF and associates are being mealy mouthed about this, but it’s the truth. The production of that material should never be sanctioned by a government. As for your other argument, actually the definition of pornography has always been that the work is otherwise without merit- Girlfriends is not pornographic for the simple reason that sex constitutes less than 1% of the material, the sex scenes are not explicit and clearly not made for the purpose of masturbation. It is a teen romance no different from the many produced by western TV companies- to say that anyone who reads girlfriends is a paedo would have serious implications for, say, the readers of twilight, or shakespeare. There is a vast gulf between such a comic and what this man has probably been convicted for; there are several comics I’d be absolutely fine with people being put on a register for reading. Say it is tentacle rape child porn, bought for the purpose of masturbation. Would you let this guy babysit your kids? Would you want him working with children? Don’t you think he should have a record that lets people know that these are his predilictions? If he is capable of resisting his urges towards children, he should have exercised that ability in not purchasing this material. End of.

  6. @emma –

    I’m sorry this took so long. As it happens I did a panel last night on this topic with the CBLDF.

    @Felix is right – the content does *not* matter. These are lines drawn on paper. No one is hurt by them, not children are harmed. In fact, he had a Nanoha doujinshi and a “chibi Kama Sutra.” These are things you or I might have.

    Manga art in general, and moe in particular, renders characters in a very simplistic way, with round faces and big eyes. This reads “child” to most people who are not familiar with the artistic style of manga.

    It’s interesting you should chose GIRL FRIENDS, because I would consider that to be the *most* likely Yuri manga to be targeted by a untrained authority figure. Mari and Akiko have round faces, big eyes, they are presented as being in school…if they were real, and not lines on paper they would be “children.”

    Anyone…and I mean *anyone*…who felt that a depiction of a thing is the thing itself would look at the scene of them having sex and think – “these are two children having sex.” If that person, who is now judging you as a person who likes to look at children having sex, decided to prosecute you, you would become Brandon X.

    The content of a comic is never the issue. The issue is the battle for comic art to be respected as a legitimate art form and treated as such. The battle is to prevent a future in which we can be jailed for committing a crime simply because of what we read, or what we draw. These are lines on paper, whatever we feel about the content it portrays is absolutely irrelevant.

    What is relevant to all of us is to not judge and pick and chose which comics, but recognize that this threatens all of us, our freedom of expression, our freedom of thought.

    Any Yuri fan could have content that an outsider might consider child porn if they looked at it. That is a fact. Because of the art style, because so many of these stories are about characters in school. This is irrelevant. It’s not child porn – it’s not “child” anything. It’s a picture and we need to fight back to protect ourselves against thought police.

    If you choose not to donate to the CBLDF, that is of course your right, but please do not judge this young man as a criminal. He is not. He is a manga fan just like me or you. He is innocent of a crime against a person. He is being prosecuted for reading a comic. That is the relevant point here. I’ll fight every day to make sure my future is free from persecution of this nature.

  7. emma says:

    I picked girlfriends for precisely this reason! It wouldn’t be fair to base my argument on something like Gunjo, to which this rule clearly doesn’t apply.

    The fact is, Girlfriends is the most ‘suspect’ manga I have read recently, not because I do not immerse myself in the Yuri community but because I have become very selective for precisely this reason. If something is overtly moe, I do not read it. If it contains gratuitous pantyshots of underage girls, I do not read it. I stopped reading Ichigo Mashimaro, I stopped reading negima, I stopped reading countless schoolgirl manga, because I felt that it was inappropriately sexualising underage girls and that as an adult, reading it had implications I could not ignore. Aoi Hana and Girlfriends do depict relationships between highschoolers, but the work taken as a whole could not be considered in any way pornographic or “ecchi”, it is about the characters and the progression of their relationship with a payoff that I do not think could be considered problematic; in the western media, many relationships between characters of the same age receive the same treatment. I would say something like Love Hina, which does not have ‘sexual’ content but which sexualises young characters, is far more problematic.

    The Nanofate doujin mentioned does not sound like something I would read, nor something I would add into my collection. A Yuri fan who has it should, I think, ask themselves some serious questions.

    The problem with the internet is, it gives too much freedom. We sit in our rooms with no outside judgement but our own to interfere with what we consume. This leads to famously bad behaviour, death or rape threats sent to people we’ve never met, bullying teenagers without possibility of retribution; or even reading what amounts to child pornography, without really asking ourselves what it means about us that we are reading it. The reaction to Brandon X’s arrest to me has the feel of someone suddenly throwing the lights on in a dark-room orgy. Suddenly we must ask ourselves, how does this reflect on me? Nobody wants to consider the implications this might have on us. He is reading something I would read, we think, so he cannot be a paedophile because I am not a paedophile. But to an outsider, how would they know the difference? That’s the thing. If it cannot be justified or explained to someone who is not ‘in the know’, perhaps the reason for that is not their ignorance but that what we are doing is not justifiable.

  8. emma says:

    On the internet we can find someone who’s into anything, who will never provide moral feedback or question whether what we are doing is right because they want to do it too. When someone from ‘the outside’ suddenly starts saying it’s wrong we get defensive and say “how can it be wrong? nobody said it was wrong. How dare you impinge on my freedom to do it!” But this kind of niche group morality is exactly the one that leads to group wrongdoing; the child abuse groups in the catholic church being a relevent and NOT unfair comparison to draw.

    In this specific case, I think it is important for each of us to monitor ourselves, and hold ourselves to a higher standard. Brandon X failed to do this when he bought manga depicting child sex.

    I’ve brought this argument to a very general and philosophical point. While I don’t think that it’s inappropriate to do so, maybe it detracts from the strength of it. So I’ll reiterate more practical point. Brandon X bought this material for use as pornography. This makes him a paedophile, as anyone who consumes child porn for this purpose is. It needs to be illegal simply so that he can go on a register, because I do not think he should be allowed to work with children. He has already allowed himself to come this far, where he would buy it. It is not unfair to argue he could take the next step.

    If you have material which is that questionable, should you? Get rid of it. You can do without it, and if you can’t, then ask yourself those tough questions again. You can do without it, in fact you would be better off. Hold yourself to a higher standard.

  9. emma says:

    haha, tl;dr. My post got so big I had to break it up to get it to fit, and I think I might have lost a middle chunk. Don’t worry, I’ll post it later! I know that what I think is terribly important. :D

  10. @emma -Ah. You’re misunderstanding a major thing here – you’re talking about narrative. The TSA, the Canadian Border Patrol, the legal system, these entities do not read, nor *care* about the narrative. They prosecute based on images.

    They will and have, focus on single panels in many panels and use those to make their point. Christopher Handley was prosecuted for a few dozen *panels* in hundreds of manga. Not a few dozen books even – actual individual pages and panels.

    You are, I understand, eager to distance yourself from “that guy.”
    If you own GIRL FRIENDS, or a scan of it, or a JManga version of it that can be accessed on your computer….you are that guy.

  11. emma says:

    As I thought, I lost the second half of my first post. It’s long, so I’m reposting it!

    (startsnip)

    On the internet we can find someone who’s into anything, who will never provide moral feedback or question whether what we are doing is right because they want to do it too. When someone from ‘the outside’ suddenly starts saying it’s wrong we get defensive and say “how can it be wrong? nobody said it was wrong. How dare you impinge on my freedom to do it!” But this kind of niche group morality is exactly the one that leads to group wrongdoing; the child abuse groups in the catholic church being a relevent and NOT unfair comparison to draw.

    In this specific case, I think it is important for each of us to monitor ourselves, and hold ourselves to a higher standard. Brandon X failed to do this when he bought manga depicting child sex.

    I’ve brought this argument to a very general and moralising point. While I don’t think that it’s inappropriate to do so, maybe it detracts from the strength of it. So I’ll reiterate an earlier point. Brandon X bought this material for use as pornography. This does make him a paedophile. It needs to be illegal simply so that he can go on a register, because I do not think he should be allowed to work with children. He has already allowed himself to come this far, where he would buy it. It is not unfair to argue he could take the next step.

    If you have material which is that questionable, should you? Get rid of it. You can do without it, and if you can’t, then ask yourself those tough questions again. You can do without it, in fact you would be better off. Hold yourself to a higher standard.
    (ENDSNIP)

    To respond

    As for Girlfriends, it is merely an example of a manga against which there can be no moral outrage for the simple fact that there are many tv shows airing in america right now that have the exact same level of sexual content as Girlfriends does. I think you want to draw a parallel between it and the material for which brandon x has been prosecuted because you can hammer up more funds if everyone thinks they’re likely to be prosecuted. But there really is no comparison, to say there is is disengenuous. The only people prosecuted have been in possession of particularly graphic images. (Christopher whatsisname took a plea bargain because any jury would have convicted him having been shown those pictures.) Those images are the reason they were prosecuted. With or without the greater narrative, nothing in Girlfriends compares. If it did . . . I wouldn’t read it. I draw a difference between me and him, because there is one. And there is one, because I have made an effort to ensure there was. I have no doujins, I have no moe. There are manga sold on license over here that I would not buy.

  12. @emma – One more time, and then I have to stop, because now you’re just being obtuse.

    GIRL FRIENDS depicts children having sex. That is what a judge would see.

    That is NOT the point. the point is, it doesn’t matter – it’s a cartoon, not a child. The content is never, ever the point.

  13. emma says:

    sigh. You are not convincing me I should help this man, I am only convinced that perhaps I should not read girlfriends again. You are the one who is deliberately missing MY point. Which is simply that there is no excuse.

  14. @emma – My conclusion is this: No excuse is needed for art. We should all be free to look at any configuration of lines on paper that we want No one has the right to jail us when no crime has been committed.

    These are important principles to me and I will spend my life defending them.

  15. Anonymous says:

    When I read Emmas comment and the rest of the people who want to ban thought I start thinking of 70 ban against the homosexual thougt, images writting etc. I guess thats also when the book transexual empire was written as hate against everybody?
    I think it is the intersex people including the intersex children who are victimized by Emmas comments.

  16. @emma – I apologize, I hate doing that “and another thing…” thing, but I am about to do it. ^_^

    I would like to add that 1) You’re making the assumption that the doujinshi was some kind of rape porn…we have no idea what it was. a beautifully drawn and written story about Fate and Nanoha could still be seen by an un-informed border guard as child porn (which is the point I was making and GILF FRIENDS.)

    2) I do not believe in thought crimes= real crimes and should be punishable as real crimes. A world in which that is true is the single scariest thing I can imagine.

    Crimes are, and should only be, things that are done in the real world with real consequences. Those need to be punished.

    Reading a comic and thinking masturbatory thoughts is not a crime. Me imagining choking the crap out of an stupid coworker is not a crime. Thoughts are, and ought to remain, free.

  17. emma says:

    Alright, it’s fine. I can see we’re not going to agree; I’m british, so the first amendment right doesn’t mean that much to me and actually, I am in support of some forms of censorship, which makes having this argument difficult.

    But my one last point (because I literally can not let anything go) is this- the list of comics confiscated by canadian border people.

    http://cbldf.org/resources/customs/comics-seized-by-canadian-border-officials/

    There’s a lot of stuff on there, stuff that was seized, stuff that was allowed . . . nobody was prosecuted for any of it. Some of it looks pretty grim. The conclusion I’m drawing is, that whatever that guy’s panels showed, must have been pretty bad.

    Anyway, anyway, I agree, lets call it a day! I will not be donating to this guys cause, but all the best of luck to you, I can see your point; really I can.

  18. @Anonymous – Intolerance is rough, but I don’t believe that anyone is victimized by Emma’s opinion, any more than they are by yours.

    Disagreeing with someone politely is a hard thing to do, but we really all need to learn it.

    I respect @emma – She’s smart, she’s a long time reader here. I value her insight and happen to disagree with her today on this topic.

    Comics were targeted as being thought crimes against children 50 years ago, now it’s manga. 30 years ago it was Heavy Metal music. There will always be *something* that is a terrible influence on the children (even though it’s not) that people will be horrified by. It’s our job to fight that every time.

  19. oneplusme says:

    @emma I’m also British, and I have to say that I only wish we had a First Amendment to give us some faint hope of protection here.

    Right now in the UK, any depiction – drawings, photographs, whatever – of characters under the age of 18 in a “sexual situation” is considered to be child pornography. (Note that the age of consent is 16.) Bear in mind that the test is whether a jury of non-manga readers thinks the characters are under 18, which as Erica, says, is a very dicey proposition. And given the lynch-mob mentality which (understandably) surrounds any suggestion of paedophilia, if you’re charged with such an offence, it really doesn’t much matter whether you’re eventually acquitted.

    There are plenty of mainstream manga which one can readily buy in the US or UK which might very readily be considered illegal on this basis. Girl Friends (if and when JManga becomes available here) would certainly be one of them. Just looking at my shelves, I might list Kare Kano, Bokurano or Gunsmith Cats as potential targets. Heck, even my nice new Utena DVDs. You’re not a child-abuser. I’m not a child-abuser. Why should we have to live in fear of the law simply for reading or watching fiction?

    The man in this case might be a paedophile; he might be a neo-Nazi or a religious lunatic or any number of other things you or I consider loathsome. That’s fundamentally irrelevant to this case. The purpose of laws is to prevent harm – in this case, the abuse of children. In this specific act of carrying a work of fiction across a border, he has not abused a child, nor caused (directly or indirectly) a child to be abused.

    You’re entirely within your rights to be disgusted by his choice of reading materials. I imagine I might also be. But I would happily defend his right to read things I find distasteful, because I am well aware that a large proportion of the population probably considers what I (and indeed we) read and watch to be creepy, weird and distasteful.

  20. snott says:

    First let me say, wow what a great conversation! Thoughtful, intelligent discourse about a really difficult topic = awesome. So thank you @emma and @erica.

    @emma I don’t agree with you, here’s why:
    Simply put I don’t think art or thinking should be censored.
    It wasn’t that long ago that we women would have been censored for having this conversation, for having thoughts about these topics and voicing them publicly.
    Art does not equal pedophilia, art is a tool for conversation. Art is about making a representation of a thought to engage another person with. The reader, viewer, watcher should make their own decisions about what is said and if you don’t like an art form I agree, don’t read/look at/support it! However art is not pornography unless the intent is to make porn and in these cases I don’t think it was.

    There are some people who think that manga artists draw moe characters because of the fact that adults are censored, as children we are allowed to express our inner feelings without judgment not because moe characters are children and that is sexy. However, that’s not really the point of this convo, no one should tell anyone what is art or what they can think about. Artist intent is the deciding factor for me about what is art and what isn’t. I guess I should also say that I am not anti-pornography. Pornography is just another artistic medium, however no person (child or adult) should be harmed in any way. If they are then it absolutely should be illegal.

  21. emma says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I don’t agree that support of censorship of flat chested women or men who look like girls doesn’t matter. It exactly that kind of censorship which censors the intersexed people, increases intolerance against intersex people and makes it more difficult for intersex people to get healthcare. When that happens some intersex people will die.
    When you promote an idea that eliminates the basic needs of other people and risks those very lives then it does matter.

  23. @Anonymous – Not sure who said that they were for censorship of men who look like girls.

    I can see that you are quite impassioned about intersex representation. I certainly am on your side. Perhaps you can turn some of your passion into repealing laws that exist (such as the Australian laws that address adult material made with consenting adult women, with small chests to which you refer.)

    It’s once again important to remember that the issue here is – content does not matter. Art should be free to created, to be seen and read, by the age groups for which it was intended.

  24. Felix says:

    Wow this thread really exploded since the last time I visited. The only thing left for me to say to Emma, since Erica already responded in a more effective way then I could, is I doubt I would be asking my babysitter about what hentai they read (kind of creepy, probably illegal to ask that in a job interview). I don’t think what fiction people consume is a useful determination of how likely they are to rape children, or murder people, or steal cars, etc.

  25. emma says:

    But the fact that he consumes pornographic images of children for sexual purposes does. And I don’t mean I would ask him, I mean he should be on a register, and not allowed to work with children in the first place. The man . . . Wanks off . . . Over children. Pretty clear, when you break it down like that.

  26. @emma- Those are assumptions you have made, you have no proof that any such thing has occurred or that the doujinshi in question were even depicting children – which may not actually be true, as I keep saying.

    A very beautiful doujinshi depicting Fate and Nanoha in high school might have been at issue…and you have absolutely no proof that he wanked off. You made that up and are presuming guilt.

    Masturbation is not a crime. Masturbating to an image is not a crime. Even *should* your assumption be true, no crime has been committed. No children were harmed.

    You might find it distasteful, but by that standard, if you masturbate after reading any Yuri manga that has *any* high school characters you are a child molester. That makes absolutely no sense.

    There is in America a “presumption of innocence” that is critical to our legal system – this man is NOT a criminal and has done absolutely NOTHING wrong until an actual crime can be proved by the state.

    Please, do not start making up stories about how he is a child molester – you have no way to know if anything you said is true. This is a person’s life you are slandering. A person you do not know anything at all about.

  27. Axel M. says:

    Erica, I would have say you’re spot-on with this subject, lolicon IS only drawn/generated visuals whether or not someone faps to it or not. And will all anime/manga with underage fanservice or books with text describing underage sexuality be banned, gee I don’t wanna go to jail myself. I am young man who loves basically any shoujo-ai anime/manga about school-age girls because they’re so darn cute and I can relate to the characters, will those be censored-up because they have underage fanservice or descriptions of underage sexualities, I’m glad they’re not because that would be messed up.

  28. Anonymous says:

    “lolicon IS only drawn/generated visuals whether or not someone faps to it or not.”

    “Lolicon” is an abbreviation of “Lolita Complex”.

    For examples of the term “Lolita Complex” used in a context that has nothing to do with manga, see http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=%22lolita+complex%22+-manga

    Some drawn/generated visuals have Lolita Complex themes *and* that doesn’t mean Lolita Complex itself “IS only drawn/generated visuals”, the same way some drawn/generated visuals are war comics and that doesn’t mean war itself “IS only drawn/generated visuals”.

Leave a Reply