A message from CBLDF President Denis Kitchen

Sun, December 28th, 2003 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Jonah Weiland, Founder/Former Owner

Official Press Release

When the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund was established in 1986, it

was to support the defense of retailers who found themselves in

trouble for daring to sell a handful of comics aimed at older

readers. Over the years the idea that comics can speak to adults on

their terms has become less radical to the general public, but too

often in the eyes of the law, they're still just for kids. In

each of the last three national election years, the Fund has defended

a case that tries to press that point. As we approach the 2004

election, we need your support so that when the next cases arrive, as

unfortunately we can be certain they will, we can afford to defend

them, to ensure that you can keep reading, or creating, or

publishing, or selling, comics and graphic novels.

There are many signs that the next legal battle is imminent. This

year both Arkansas and Michigan passed new laws attempting to ban the

display and dissemination of "harmful-to-minors" materials.

On the surface these laws are supposed to shield minors from explicit

materials, but they are so ambiguously phrased that they actually

threaten a great deal of the constitutionally protected materials

that support the individuals who earn their living from comics.

This year, the federal government passed PROTECT, a dangerous law

that broadens the definition of child pornography in a fashion that

threatens any work addressing the idea of minors engaged in sexual

conduct, whether an actual minor is involved or not. Even co-sponsor

Patrick Leahy condemned this provision of the law, saying it

"goes too far." This law and the PATRIOT Act include

provisions allowing for increased surveillance of individuals and

businesses that can be carried out under a cloak of secrecy, so who

can say what's happening that we aren't seeing?

The CBLDF is actively following and fighting these laws. As full

members of Media Coalition, a national association of free speech

advocacy groups, we have participated in nearly a dozen amicus briefs

challenging laws like Arkansas Act 858, the Child Online Protection

Act, South Carolina's Harmful to Minors Internet Law, even

provisions of the PATRIOT Act. We've also lent our name to cases

whose precedents would affect the freedom of creators to take

advantage of their First Amendment right to free expression, such as

Winters v. DC Comics, New Times v. Isaacks, and Tyne v. Time Warner.

We're keeping you informed about these fights and the new laws on

the horizon in Busted!, which has become one of the country's leading

magazines covering the national First Amendment climate.

This is necessary work and we need your support so we can continue to

do it. By making a tax-deductible donation to the CBLDF you will

allow us to build up our war chest so we can wage a first-class legal

defense the next time a member of the comics community is caught in a

legal crossfire. You will help us to take action to stop bad laws

before they start and prevent bad precedents from infecting the law.

Please contribute to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund today. If you

haven't yet renewed your membership, now is the time to do so.

If you're not a member but earn a living from comics, then you

have no excuse for not joining now. If you have already paid this

year's dues, we thank you and we ask you to please use this

opportunity to increase your support.

Please visit www.cbldf.org and make your tax-deductible contribution



Denis Kitchen,


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