Debate and Discussion

Uncle Sam is at it again, "protecting" the morals, and bodies of innocent animated and manga children
dragonrider at 6:29AM, Oct. 18, 2008
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Fri Oct 17, 2008 — by Alan Kistler
Manga Reader Charged for Obscenity
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund called to defend a comic book collector.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has defended several arists and retailers in the past. But now, for the first time, they have been called to aid an actual comic book collector.

Christopher Handley of Iowa is facing obscenity charges under the PROTECT Act (18 U.S.C. section 14661) for ordering and possessing manga that is allegedly “obscene.” Although no photographic material is contained within the manga in question, the charges allege that the material includes drawings depicting minors engaging in acts of a sexual nature. The material was reported by a postal inspector.

The“objectionable” manga in question is only a small part of Handley's collection, which included over 1200 volumes of various manga. Despite this, authorities have taken possession of Handley's entire comic book, magazine, manga and DVD collection, as well as his computer, in their search for further evidence.

If found guilty, Handley could face up to 20 years in jail. CBLDF legal counsel Burton Joseph commented, “I have never encountered a situation where criminal prosecution was brought against a private consumer for possession of material for personal use in his own home. This prosecution has profound implications in limiting the First Amendment for art and artists, and comics in particular, that are on the cutting edge of creativity. It misunderstands the nature of avant-garde art in its historical perspective and is a perversion of anti-obscenity laws.”

As of now, Handley and the CBLDF-assisted defense team have been able to achieve partial victory. The court has ruled that sections of the PROTECT Act are infirm because they “do no require that the material be deemed obscene” by a court-appointed jury but rather by Congressional standards.

In the latest CBLDF update, it states: “Handley now faces charges under the surviving sections of 1466A, which will require a jury to determine whether the drawings at issue are legally obscene.”

The following are the legal standards that would make the material “obscene.” All three must be met in order for there to be a conviction.

A. Whether the average person, applying comtemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest.

B. Whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law.

C. Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

For more information and how you can help, check out the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund web-site.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:16PM
lothar at 8:32AM, Oct. 18, 2008
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could those standards be any more vague ?
20 years in prison for having comics that are prolly sold in the bookstore near my house ? seriously WTF is wrong with america ? this is the kinda shit you expect from countries like saudi arabia or communist china, and ,i guess now, the USA as well .
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
Eirikr at 8:43AM, Oct. 18, 2008
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Why did they need to take his DVD collection and his computer? Those things aren't even marginally related to the case. That sounds like more of an actual crime than what he did.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:20PM
lothar at 8:46AM, Oct. 18, 2008
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and why is the mailman informing on him ?
welcome to the USSA comrad
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
Koshou at 10:10AM, Oct. 18, 2008
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coincidentally, I just learned about obscenity laws in my American Government class.

I doubt he'll be charged for anything. Since it's HIS manga which HE bought, he has a right to have it in HIS home. As long as he isn't photocopying it and distributing it to random people on the street, he hasn't done anything wrong.

People are stupid sometimes. :/
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:21PM
JoeL_CQB at 10:50AM, Oct. 18, 2008
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dragonrider
…the charges allege that the material includes drawings depicting minors engaging in acts of a sexual nature. The material was reported by a postal inspector…

I think that classifies as child pron, or so what the postal inspector must have thought. Which is illegal to own and make.

That's why he's being charged, and the police probably got a warrant to search through his stuff to find stuff that actually fit these descriptions.

dragonrider
A. Whether the average person, applying comtemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest.

B. Whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law.

C. Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:10PM
Mushroomcomix at 11:52AM, Oct. 18, 2008
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Eirikr
Why did they need to take his DVD collection and his computer? Those things aren't even marginally related to the case. That sounds like more of an actual crime than what he did.

they probably took it to see if he had videos or photographs of children on his computer…which would make this a legitimate crime.

I honestly don't see why having a manga with nudity in it would constitute as child pornography. Isn't this stuff all over, I mean don't tons of Mangas have these scenes in them?
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:08PM
radarig at 1:39PM, Oct. 18, 2008
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Mushroomcomix
I honestly don't see why having a manga with nudity in it would constitute as child pornography. Isn't this stuff all over, I mean don't tons of Mangas have these scenes in them?
That doesn't make it okay. The DoJ outlines this pretty clearly:
http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/ceos/citizensguide_obscenity.html
DoJ
Federal law prohibits the distribution of obscenity. More specifically, it is a crime to mail or receive obscene materials, or to import or transport obscene materials across state lines, including by computer. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 1461, 1462, 1463. It is also illegal to transport obscene materials for sale or distribution, or to engage in the business of selling obscene materials. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 1465, 1466. If on federal property, it is a crime to possess obscenity with the intent to sell it. See 18 U.S.C. § 1460. With that exception, it is generally not a crime to possess obscenity for private use. Thus, while possession of child pornography is a crime, possession of obscenity is not.
So interstate, and possibly international, trading of obscene materials is a crime. I seriously doubt the guy is going to get brought up on child porn charges, as those laws were meant to protect children from being exploited; this should be a plain-jane obscenity case. And as to how something is determined to be “obscene” for the above laws:
DoJ
The United States Supreme Court established a test that juries use to determine whether material is obscene. Under this test, something is obscene if the average person would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, is patently offensive in light of contemporary community standards, and lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value. Because the test for obscenity incorporates the views of the community evaluating the material, something may be considered obscene in one jurisdiction that may not be considered obscene in another jurisdiction.
So obscenity is entirely relative! Hope the CBLDF lawyers are good.

Edit: Duh, the obscenity parameters are in the first message. Still, that's the source for that info. :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:58PM
dragonrider at 2:20PM, Oct. 18, 2008
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OK, I am now going to get on my soapbox on this situation, the whole thing with the Postal Inspector turning him in and his authority to do so comes under the wide Unconstitutional Umbrella of Homeland Security. One of the first things GWB&CO did was make every Postal Employee, Meter Reader, UPS, FEDEX et al Delivery people defacto government spies and charged them to bring anything they observed, thought they observed or illegally snooped found and felt was “seditious” to the immediate attention of the “Proper Authority”. Under the guise of this blatant, roughshod ride over our First Amendment Rights the FBI has amassed files and dossiers on hundreds of thousands innocent people. This case is just one the latest in a long series of abuses of power that have transpired the past 8 years. The question of Child Pornography in Hentai and Manga has been addressed at the Supreme Court level and it was ruled that fictional characters do not have any age so there can be no child pornography.

The real push here is the specter of the “Religious Reich” wanting to convert each and every person to their way of thinking and contributing to their coffers. Taking away Freedom of the Press, Freedom to Assemble, Freedom to Petition for Redress of Wrongs, Freedom of Religion, the concept of Innocent Till Proven Guilty and the Right of Habeas Corpus .

That Being said I would seriously ask people to jump over to the Comic Book Legal Defense web site and see how we can support the defense. Remember, “When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist. When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent; I was not a social democrat. When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist. When they came for the Jews, I remained silent; I was not a Jew. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.
http://www.cbldf.org/index.shtml
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:16PM
radarig at 2:50PM, Oct. 18, 2008
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dragonrider
The question of Child Pornography in Hentai and Manga has been addressed at the Supreme Court level and it was ruled that fictional characters do not have any age so there can be no child pornography.

Obscenity and child pornography are not the same thing; Child pornography is a special class of obscenity that is totally illegal to possess. The case here appears to recognize that this is obviously not child pornography, the laws concerning which were made to protect actual children involved in the production of the materials.

It still can be ruled as obscene material, which the CBLDF lawyers can fight by proving one of the criteria listed above.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:58PM
KingRidley at 6:37PM, Oct. 18, 2008
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lothar
this is the kinda shit you expect from countries like saudi arabia or communist china, and ,i guess now, the USA as well .

In Saudi Arabia or Communist China he'd be facing mutilation or execution with no trial at all. While this is bad, at least he's getting a chance to defend himself.


lothar
welcome to the USSA comrad

Hey there lothar, that's not how you spell USA-

Heeeeeeey wait a minute, that's supposed to be a play on USSR isn't it? Oh you clever dog you.






All that aside, this issue really can look good or bad based on what side you're looking at it from.

If you look at it from the whole “that specific comic didn't even have child porn in it” then yeah it's messed up. There's really not alot to say against it other than the fact that this will probably not fly, and if it does there will be many many angry people.


From the other point of view, child porn, real or drawn or fictional or whatever, is messed up. I don't have any sympathy for that kind of thing, because there is a fine line between fantasy and reality when sexual interest is involved. And if you're reading a comic that involves child porn, there's a logical doubt that you'd stop reading when it reached that point. In that sense checking his DVDs and computer for more child porn makes sense.


But again, that shit won't fly. Chances are he'll get off free.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
DAJB at 2:49AM, Oct. 19, 2008
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KingRidley
Chances are he'll get off free.
Maybe he will, maybe he won't. However, even if acquitted, the very accusation could have a devastating effect on this guy's life, job, friends and mental health.

If he is some kind of paedophile, it's hard to have any sympathy for him. But if, as seems to be the case, he's buying these books not because he likes child pornography but just because he collects all kinds of manga readily available elsewhere, then that's a high price to pay and the guys bringing this prosecution should be ashamed of themselves.

Obviously we don't know the full facts at this stage but it's worth keeping an open mind until we do. Many of the cases which the CBLDF end up defending do seem to be started by a bunch of ultra-conservative cranks thinking they have the right to impose their standards on other people.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
ozoneocean at 3:20AM, Oct. 19, 2008
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DAJB
Many of the cases which the CBLDF end up defending do seem to be started by a bunch of ultra-conservative cranks thinking they have the right to impose their standards on other people.
And as history constantly proves; the sorts of people who throw around the accusations are the ones who are in reality the worst offenders.

The authorities would probably do well to check into the background of the postal worker who brought the claim as well as the officials who decided to press charges. I dread to think what they'd find.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:32PM
lothar at 3:59AM, Oct. 19, 2008
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you see the problem here ???
the Mail Man , let me repeat that the F-ing MAIL MAN, turned him in . and then they Ransacked his house and took all his shit ! and he's in Jail rite now , or is he ? im not sure about that. but Anyway , i think i know the kinda manga they are talking about here , not saying i dig it myself , but its all over the place in Japan , and many many people will look at it and mistake it for some kinda child porn . but this stuff is sold in regular book stores rite out in the open . it's not illegal , but this dipshit mailman got it in his head (for whatever reason) that this was some kinda illegal stuff. And there's you problem rite there . Why in the hell is the mailman making that judjment call anyway ? where the hell is the privacy? that is what most disturbs me about this . when you put that kinda power in the hands of people that should obviously not have it . and then the american people just exept it as normal .
The mailman is reading your mail ! and you better watch out cuz he might just report you to the government !
you get that ???

its kinda like the guy working at mcDonalds catches you smoking in your car outside the drive thru window and calls the police because he thinks you might be smoking weed ! so the cops show up and tear your car apart , cuz by their rational , if you're smoking weed you might also have some coke or heroin in there too , and then they can really charge you with something ~!

this is how democracy dies folks .. . baby steps
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
KingRidley at 9:10AM, Oct. 19, 2008
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lothar
i think i know the kinda manga they are talking about here , not saying i dig it myself , but its all over the place in Japan , and many many people will look at it and mistake it for some kinda child porn . but this stuff is sold in regular book stores rite out in the open . it's not illegal

Why in the hell is the mailman making that judjment call anyway ? where the hell is the privacy?

The mailman is reading your mail ! and you better watch out cuz he might just report you to the government !
you get that ???

its kinda like the guy working at mcDonalds catches you smoking in your car outside the drive thru window and calls the police because he thinks you might be smoking weed ! so the cops show up and tear your car apart , cuz by their rational , if you're smoking weed you might also have some coke or heroin in there too , and then they can really charge you with something ~!



It might not be illegal in japan, but we have different laws here and it is illegal here.


Dude they need to know what's in the boxes. They don't go around opening boxes at random and reporting whatever they find, but I'm pretty sure a bar code scan can tell you where it's going and what's in it, because they need to keep track of what has arrived and what hasn't. That, and each package goes through tons of security checkpoints and scans and all sorts of stuff because a bunch of ass holes try to mail dangerous things like chemicals or bombs and they ruin it for everyone else. Sending anything through the mail blindly is stupid.


Judging by the fact that all my mail reaches my house unopened (it's hard to reseal a paper envelope) I can safely say that no, no he is not. Again, these people have to report anything suspicious, and if he knew about the manga then recognized the name of the book that was being sent to that guy then he reported him hoping to out a pedophile. He didn't open the package and flip through his book. That's also why they will do a background check on the guy who reported the package as well. They need to know that he's trustworthy. Seriously, you need to curb your enthusiasm for this perceived death of democracy.


That sounds like something that has happened to you. Makes sense to me, you do one kind of drug then what's going to limit you to that one alone? It's already pretty obvious that your self control is compromised. And pot is illegal. If someone sees you smoking it, they have the right to call the police.


Again lothar, curb your enthusiasm.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
mlai at 10:00AM, Oct. 19, 2008
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So, being charged for obscenity because you're having mailed to you, private media with hand-drawn depictions of a sexual nature… in America… that does not sound wrong to you.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
Aurora Moon at 10:31AM, Oct. 19, 2008
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while I understand why those laws are in place, I still think the extent of this “crime” is completely ridiculous.

I mean, I'd love to exactly know how old the manga characters were, and what they were EXACTLY doing for it to be considered “obscene.”

After all, there's still idiots who think that 80% of manga are porn just because they depict nudity, etc.

I'd find it hilariously sad if the said manga depicted two teenagers making out and only groping each other, and they thought that was overtly sexual.

also, there's shitloads of manga/anime characters who are actually supposed to be adults but happens to LOOK young because of how they were drawn. I actually own this one manga called Fraken Fran about this young adult woman who were basically like a female Frankenstein, who performs freaky experiments and such in place of her doctor who's apparently away on trips a lot. What does that got to do with my point, you ask. Well, my point is that my mom found it disturbing because she read it one time… and not for the reasons above. My mom actually thought that Fraken Fran was an girl of 13 years old because of how she looked, and thought that Fran was too young to be doing such disturbing things. and then I pointed out that in the manga that she was actually 19 years old, and my mom was like: “oh… I see. she looks so young though.”

So you can't always tell the age of an drawn/animated character… :P
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:10AM
KingRidley at 12:10PM, Oct. 19, 2008
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mlai
So, being charged for obscenity because you're having mailed to you, private media with hand-drawn depictions of a sexual nature… in America… that does not sound wrong to you.

I'm not supporting the decision entirely here. I'm just saying that I can understand what probably lead up to this happening at all. Postal worker recognizes the name of the book and knows what's in it and decides he wants to out a pedophile. Unluckily enough the guy was just buying the book because he loved manga. While this will leave its mark on various records he probably won't be going to jail. That is unless the postal worker got ‘lucky’ and they find that he really is a pedophile. Still, I think that they need to ask the postal worker how he knew about the book in the first place.


Aurora Moon
My mom actually thought that Fraken Fran was an girl of 13 years old because of how she looked, and thought that Fran was too young to be doing such disturbing things. and then I pointed out that in the manga that she was actually 19 years old, and my mom was like: “oh… I see. she looks so young though.”
I have always felt that they draw them so young and make them all way older on purpose just to get around that rule.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
ipokino at 2:58PM, Oct. 19, 2008
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Someone
It might not be illegal in japan, but we have different laws here and it is illegal here.

Again, in actual fact–it is NOT illegal in this country to make and or possess or even sell artworks that depict children in sexual situations. As Dragonrider said, this has been determined at the Supreme Court Level. Non-photographed (ie works involving no actual children in their creation) are deemed to be ‘Creative works of the Mind’ The Supreme Court ruled that the law has no constitutional right to make a person's thoughts and creative efforts illegal so long as no persons are harmed in the process! Boy was Rumsfeld pissed!!!

Also–once again we come down to the US Government attempting to legislate to the entire world what their morality should be! This, and most north european countries are about the only countries where eighteen is considered to be ‘sexually’ adult. In much of the rest of the world the age of sexual adulthood varies widely–from menarche to other. Who are you–oh sanctimonious Americans–to set this arbitrary age–and then declare the rest of the world criminal!

I am a propertarian libertarian. My rights belong–not to some government–but to me personally. They are mine. They can only be revolked if I let them. These rights, to speak, to gather, to have sex and procreate, to own the means to protect myself, to think as I will and to print what I create are MINE! They are also–yours and they are also–by extension–the right of every child! I know this statement will raise a storm–because determining when a child truly understands right from wrong and cause and effect has yet to be adequately addressed. However, my belief is, to use age as an arbitrary limiting factor is wrong. Should a child not have the right to vote on who should rule over him? Or choose parents better suited to him or her if desired? Or protect him or herself as needed. Or use their own body for sexual pleasure when they wish! I think they should have these things–and as a parent who raised a great kid–I figure I got room to talk!

I never once limited or censored my child. I figured if she could ask the question, she was old enough to find the answer. We talked about every issue, openly, and without condemnation. When she told me she was ready for sex–we went to Family Planning, got her birth control and a course on avoiding STDs. She's now twenty-three–makes almost as much money as I do–has had probably close to as many sexual encounters as I have…and more to the point…she likes herself and is happy! Can you do better than that? And, oh yeah, she was well under the legal adult sexual age of eighteen when she decided for herself–go figure!!!

I imagine a lot of folks are going to take exception to this…sorry. I prefer to err on the side of FREEDOM and LIBERTY and oh, gee…those two things our country was founded upon! Also interesting to note–this whole pedophilia thing–didn't even exist as a legal issue until this century…but now its like “oh HORROR!” Why is that?!?!?
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:02PM
KingRidley at 3:42PM, Oct. 19, 2008
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Because it takes a pretty messed up mind to like kids having sex, real or otherwise.

That's just my opinion anyways.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
Aurora Moon at 5:35PM, Oct. 19, 2008
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KingRidley
Aurora Moon
My mom actually thought that Fraken Fran was an girl of 13 years old because of how she looked, and thought that Fran was too young to be doing such disturbing things. and then I pointed out that in the manga that she was actually 19 years old, and my mom was like: “oh… I see. she looks so young though.”
I have always felt that they draw them so young and make them all way older on purpose just to get around that rule.

or they can't help it. some manga artists can't help but draw girls with bigger eyes that makes them look cute/innocent, etc. It's like a bad habit or something. such as an manga artist who was used to doing genres that was directed at children, and then had to attempt drawing for an series that was decidedly more mature afterward. Anybody would have difficulty trying to depict the proper age of an person if they were only used to drawing fictional children for an kiddie series.

and sometimes people are drawn younger-looking on purpose for an reason… like this one action/comedy manga (I forgot the name) where an university student was embarrassed over the fact that his father actually looked like an cute, young girl no matter how manly his father's clothing was. He dreaded being seen in public with his father and then having somebody find out. it was actually a quite funny comic..

The funny thing is that Fraken Fran is actually a very well-developed fictional woman, if you get my meaning. That's just in some clothes she looks slightly flat-chested because she's not one of those big-breasted manga girls. she looks especially that way in her baggy laboratory clothing which she wears 89% of the time, because the chapters are mostly about her performing surgery etc. but in normal clothing you can see that she is definitely 19 years old, no question about it.

And the other issue is that sometimes you have people who aren't familiar with manga being unable to tell the GENDER, the age and everything else about an character. Hell, when I first got into manga 12 years ago my mom couldn't even tell characters apart at all. She couldn't tell the difference between Wedding peach and Sailor Moon, as seeing all the characters “looked alike” to her. She couldn't even tell who was male and who was female sometimes. And the same went for the rest of my family members because they weren't familiar with the style at the time neither.

So I can find it pretty reasonable that somebody out there could mistake an 20-year-old fictional character for an underaged character when it's CLEAR That the said fictional character is NOT underage. Just simply because they weren't familiar with this type of comic style.
I'm on hitatus while I redo one of my webcomics. Be sure to check it out when I'n done! :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:10AM
mlai at 5:39PM, Oct. 19, 2008
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Yeah, and exactly what defines “a kid”?

I can very well set the legal consensual age in Mlaidonia to 21, because that's the legal age for consuming alcohol. And anyone caught having sex under 21, or viewing sexual media involving people under 21, or reading about people under 21 having sex in words or pictures shall be brought up on charges of ‘obscenity’ which obviously translates to ‘perversion’, ‘deviant’, and ‘pedophilia’ in the accused's neighborhood.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
Aurora Moon at 5:52PM, Oct. 19, 2008
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mlai
Yeah, and exactly what defines “a kid”?

I can very well set the legal consensual age in Mlaidonia to 21, because that's the legal age for consuming alcohol. And anyone caught having sex under 21, or viewing sexual media involving people under 21, or reading about people under 21 having sex in words or pictures shall be brought up on charges of ‘obscenity’ which obviously translates to ‘perversion’, ‘deviant’, and ‘pedophilia’ in the accused's neighborhood.

exactly. to me, somebody of 16-17 years old isn't an kid, but an young adult who's on his/her way to becoming an legal adult. Just going to use that age range as an example of somebody underage BUT not too young to know what sex is, etc.

I wouldn't have sex with people of that age in real life at all, period!! but I don't mind reading/viewing material of people that age having romantic relationships, sexual relationships, etc as part of some storyline or something.

I wouldn't necessarily get aroused off it, I'd be simply reading such stuff for the storyline.

So would it be such a crime if I was to purchase an manga that had 16-year-olds having sex just because I wanted to read about the storyline where their kingdoms were at war, etc…?
I'm on hitatus while I redo one of my webcomics. Be sure to check it out when I'n done! :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:10AM
bravo1102 at 7:17PM, Oct. 19, 2008
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East Asians (Japanese, Chinese etc) on the whole appear younger to Western eyes. The simplifed manga art style exaggerates this.

As for the Postal inspector turning him in; IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HOMELAND SEC URITY/PATRIOT ACT. The postal inspection for seditious/offensive materials goes back more than 230 years. People were put in prison in the 19th Century for mailing literature discussing birth control and copies of certain novels containing suggestive scenes of underage sexual relations. Not even pictures, but writing. Nothing new here, just some new labels for an old problem in the United States of Puritans With a Radically Skewed Sense of Morality based on an Irrational 2000 year old belief System.

Um what would they think of my human figure art reference books that have nude photos of children to draw from?

BY the way this fits perfectly with the definition of a Puritan: Someone who is deathly afraid that someone, some where might be having fun.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
dragonrider at 7:39PM, Oct. 19, 2008
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ipokeno said: imagine a lot of folks are going to take exception to this...sorry. I prefer to err on the side of FREEDOM and LIBERTY and oh, gee...those two things our country was founded upon! Also interesting to note--this whole pedophilia thing--didn't even exist as a legal issue until this century...but now its like "oh HORROR!" Why is that?!?!? 

Think it might have anything to do with the fact that until the end of 1940's (A) The country still needed able bodied young people to replace those killed in combat and there was still not a great population so young sex and marriage were not looked on as they now are. I think Darwin called it survival of the fittest
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:16PM
isukun at 8:04PM, Oct. 19, 2008
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There are a bunch of things that bother me about this case.

I really have to wonder under what circumstances this “postal inspector” has the right to open someone else's mail to see what's inside? Manga doesn't usually come in magazine form with just a postal code and no wrapping, so what was this guy doing opening whatever box or mailer the material was in? What, was he expecting anthrax or a bomb from Amazon.com?

Second, apparently the jury is being called not to judge the manga as a whole, but just individual drawings that are considered offensive. Last time I checked, comics, even manga, were SEQUENTIAL art. Story and context are important things, so judging a comic as obscene based on a single image seems a bit short-sighted to me. We don't judge books under the same criteria, what makes comics different?

In the end, it really does seem more like a smear tactic. They know none of this will hold in court, but it really makes the guy look bad to throw him in jail for a few weeks and bring him to trial over simulated kiddie porn. It can have a negative impact on his professional and social life and I really hope he sues over it.

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
bravo1102 at 8:27PM, Oct. 19, 2008
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posts: 3,356
joined: 1-21-2008
I'll say it again: Postal inspectors exist to inspect the mail to ensure that things that are not supposed to be in the mail aren't.

They've had this job since there has been mail. You see in the USA you have freedom of speech, but no one ever said you have the right to send objectionable material through the mail. This has been adjudicated ad nauseum going back to the origins of the nation. How was one way the Alien and Sedition Acts worked? Postal inspectors. Obscenity laws? Postal inspectors. They can examine the mail as necessary to ensure its safety. Junk mail infractions? Postal Inspectors, Fraud? Postal Inspectors.

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
isukun at 9:08PM, Oct. 19, 2008
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posts: 2,481
joined: 9-28-2006
Postal inspectors are not supposed to be doing random searches, however. They function much like police in that they need some incentive to actually open and rummage through someone's mail. Another important point is that to open packages or mailer parcels, the USPIS must first obtain a warrant. Which brings me once again to what incentive DID they have to do so in this case?
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
JoeL_CQB at 12:23AM, Oct. 20, 2008
(online)
posts: 546
joined: 4-17-2007
So I guess the defense is that the characters are suppose to be 20-something but they happen to look like 12-13 year olds.

Are the characters in the comic suppose to be adults who happen to look like adults, or are they really minors?
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:10PM
isukun at 3:51AM, Oct. 20, 2008
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posts: 2,481
joined: 9-28-2006
In this particular case, they probably really are minors. There are a lot of doujin and hentai manga out there which do depict underage characters having sex and they don't typically hide it the way American distributors do.

The defense isn't claiming the characters are older than they appear, they are claiming that the manga is not child pornography (which they already convinced the judge of, due to prior precedent) and that it has enough artistic merit to not be considered obscenity.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM

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