CBLDF Interview With Charles Brownstein
With the recent resolution of the Gordon Lee case, in which a comic shop owner was arrested for accidentally giving a copy of a Free Comic Book Day title that contained male nudity to a child, there’s been quite a bit of attention on the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and their significant financial support for Lee during the trial.
Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter has posted a lengthy, comprehensive interview with Charles Brownstein, the executive director of the CBLDF, that touches upon the Lee case, its impact on the comics industry and the group’s other current and future projects.
As always, Spurgeon conducts a great interview that really gives you all you could ever want to know about the group and why there’s a genuine need for it. In this excerpt, Brownstein discusses the group’s ability to wage future legal battles, given the expenses incurred by the Lee case, and what types of legal issues are most worrisome to CBLDF:
What really makes me lose sleep is the prospect of getting a case under the PROTECT Act’s horrifying provisions equating drawings of teen and juvenile sexuality with actual child pornography. I’ve seen a couple of convictions for anime and manga that was ruled to be child porn. These were dirty people who also had real child porn, and who deserved their convictions for that material, not for repugnant art. There’s a difference between photographic evidence of a crime and drawings.
Those are the cases where we really need the community to stay firm in their support of the First Amendment. I think a lot of the content in the sexually oriented manga is pretty repugnant, but it’s lines on paper. The thing that raises my ire about PROTECT and the current slate of child pornography laws is that in attempting to create stronger resources against sexual predators, they create categories of thought crime. Child pornography is photographic evidence of a crime. To lower that bar to include dirty drawings and uncomfortable, if not repugnant, ideas muddies the waters in a way that disrespects the severity of the crime, and the victims of it.
For the full interview — which I highly recommend reading — head over to The Comics Reporter.