Comic Book Legal Defense Fund backs traveller arrested at Canadian border for "pornographic" manga on his hard drive

Charles from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund sez, "Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has formed a coalition to assist the defense of an American facing criminal charges in Canada for having manga comics on his laptop that Customs authorities allege are child pornography. He faces a minimum of one year in prison if convicted. CBLDF has also published an advisory about traveling through international borders with comics and a list of comics seized in Canada since 2002."

The images at issue are all comics in the manga style. No photographic evidence of criminal behavior is at issue. Nevertheless, a warrant was issued and the laptop was turned over to police. Consequently, the American has been charged with both the possession of child pornography as well as its importation into Canada. As a result, if convicted at trial, the American faces a minimum of one year in prison. This case could have far reaching implications for comic books and manga in North America.

The CBLDF's Board of Directors voted unanimously to aid the case by raising funds to contribute to the defense and to help the defense with strategy and expert resources.

Brownstein says, "This is an important case that impacts the rights of everyone who reads, publishes, and makes comics and manga in North America. It underscores the dangers facing everyone traveling with comics, and it can establish important precedents regarding travelers rights. It also relates to the increasingly urgent issue of authorities prosecuting art as child pornography. While this case won't set a US precedent, it can inform whatever precedent is eventually set. This case is also important with respect to artistic merit in the Canadian courts, and a good decision could bring Canadian law closer to US law in that respect. With the help of our supporters, we hope to raise the funds to wage a fight that yields good decisions and to create tools to help prevent these sorts of cases from continuing to spread."

CBLDF Forms Coalition to Defend American Comics Reader Facing Criminal Charges In Canada

(Thanks, Charles!)