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A Manga Fan Is Arrested In His Home For Owning Manga
Posted 11/4/08 , edited 11/4/08
I zen_music did not write this article, so as the saying goes, "don't shoot the messenger." Here's the direct link to the article if you'd prefer to read it there: yaoi911.com

By the way, don't quote me unless it's important.
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From CBLDF’s October 09, 2008 press release:

Mr. Handley’s case began in May 2006 when he received an express mail package from Japan that contained seven Japanese comic books. That package was intercepted by the Postal Inspector, who applied for a search warrant after determining that the package contained cartoon images of objectionable content. Unaware that his materials were searched, Handley drove away from the post office and was followed by various law enforcement officers, who pulled him over and followed him to his home. Once there, agents from the Postal Inspector’s office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, Special Agents from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and officers from the Glenwood Police Department seized Handley’s collection of over 1,200 manga books or publications; and hundreds of DVDs, VHS tapes, laser disks; seven computers, and other documents. Though Handley’s collection was comprised of hundreds of comics covering a wide spectrum of manga, the government is prosecuting images appearing in a small handful.

To give some context for how extraordinary this is, CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein said this:

Handley’s case is deeply troubling, because the government is prosecuting a private collector for possession of art. In the past, CBLDF has had to defend the First Amendment rights of retailers and artists, but never before have we experienced the Federal Government attempting to strip a citizen of his freedom because he owned comic books.

To Protect The Children

And what moved this postal inspector to set up this sting? Well, of course it has to do with alleged drawings of underage characters. Not photographs, mind you — or even drawings of actual minors — but drawn manga characters who only ever existed in the minds of the creators before ever seeing life on paper. Luckily, in this case, the judge dismissed the issue of alleged child pornography:

(Again from the press release)

Eric Chase and his team at the United Defense Group have been vigorously defending Handley, and scored a major First Amendment victory earlier this year when the judge found portions of the PROTECT Act unconstitutional in his ruling on a motion to dismiss. District Judge Gritzner of the Southern District of Iowa found that subsections 1466(a)(2) and (b)(2) of 18 U.S.C. 1466A unconstitutional. Those sections make it a crime to knowingly produce, distribute, receive, or possess with intent to distribute, “a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting,” that “is, or appears to be” a minor engaged in sexual conduct. Judge Gritzner found that those sections restrict protected speech and are constitutionally infirm.

Simon Jones provides his as-always excellent analysis why the defense team succeeded in this motion:

…the presiding judge has ruled that the portion of the PROTECT Act which deals specifically with the depiction of minors cannot be applied to this case. (The Supreme Court earlier this year addressed this issue. While this section survived, the justices were also clear that it can only be applied to fictional imagery when the image is clearly based on or derived from actual identifiable minors, i.e. a tracing or digital composite imagery.) [EDITOR NOTE: I discuss this ruling a bit and quote some of the text in this comment -- look at the bottom of the comment for my discussion.]

But this manga fan can still be prosecuted for purchasing and possessing obscene material — and faces up to twenty years in prison for this alleged crime!


(Again from the CBDLF press release: )

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 material cannot be deemed obscene unless it meets all three of the criteria of the Miller test for obscenity: “(a) whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; [EDITOR NOTE: That means it's intended to sexually arouse -- offensive violence is, of course, in itself still considered protected speech. ] (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” The jury must answer all three questions in the affirmative in order to convict.

How much danger is this manga fan in? Simon gives us the real-world context:

However, Handley is still on the hook for obscenity related offenses, and this is where the waters become murky. The defense’s best chance is to convince the jury that the manga passes the last of the three-pronged Miller test. But this is an uphill battle, as the jury is asked to decide (in the third portion of the test) whether the work has “serious artistic value,” instead of whether the work was a “serious artistic endeavor.” The spirit of the law really asks for the latter - serious artistic endeavors still routinely produce bad art that nevertheless deserve protection, unfortunately that’s not how the standard is worded. And obscenity laws have a built-in catch 22: if a jury finds the material not obscene, they are in effect saying that the material is regularly consumed in their community… at least, that’s what the prosecution would lead the jury to believe. Now, how many people who own porn would admit that to, say, a prospective employer? Their friends and relatives? In a court of law? The fear and embarrassment factor is so great, juries often completely disregard expert testimony.

So, without a lot of smart defensive lawyering, things look pretty grim for this manga fan. Now, why is this guy’s case important for you and me? Because case law sets precedent. If this guy is successfully prosecuted, it emboldens prosecutors to go after other manga fans and makes it more likely that they will get convictions. As we all know, “protecting the children” has tremendous political appeal — and manga fans both in this country and in others are often seen as easy targets for the media and the government.

What this prosecution needs is a splash of cold water.

How To Keep Manga Fans Out Of Jail - What You Can Do
Posted 11/4/08
Next time, instead of e-shopping and postal delivery, he should download the h-pics and use his color printer.
Staple them together and turn them into a book.
j/k joke joke
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Posted 11/4/08
ahahahah if thats the case just about any one who has a collection of anime is gonne be in trouble.
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Posted 11/4/08 , edited 11/6/08

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 material cannot be deemed obscene unless it meets all three of the criteria of the Miller test for obscenity: “(a) whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; [EDITOR NOTE: That means it's intended to sexually arouse -- offensive violence is, of course, in itself still considered protected speech. ] (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” The jury must answer all three questions in the affirmative in order to convict.


Criterion A presents another kind of catch-22. "Contemporary community standards" are often based on the law, but this law is also based on those standards. If, at the time of the creation of this law, there was a strong disapproval of this material, it would be difficult (though not impossible, which makes it something less than a catch-22) for the status quo to be changed.

The real issue here is whether free speech should protect illustrations of the underage in sexual contexts. I think it should, as it avoids all of the problems of real child pornography. It could be argued that these images encourage real pedophilia, but 1.) such a claim requires research to be taken seriously, and 2.) pedophilia is no different from any other fetish, provided it never manifests itself in sexual behavior with the underage.

I'm tired of hearing complaints that harmless behavior A might lead to harmful behavior Z. Our system of justice is based on the idea that, barring insanity, we have free will, which means we can choose to refrain from harmful behavior Z even if we engage in harmless behavior A. Judging by the number of people who both enjoy manga of this nature and avoid harmful activities, I think we can assume this is true.

But what if it motivates the insane or those with pre-existing criminal tendencies? Sorry, but anything "could" do that. Besides, no matter how many laws we invent to try to reach our goal of absolute safety (and thus the absence of freedom), we can never account for such people.

Rather than punish people before they commit an actual crime, let's start emphasizing personal responsibility and control.

Anyway, what I don't understand about this is how the the "possession of obscene material" matters if it has already been determined that he does not possess child pornography. Since we are allowed to have pornography, I can only imagine this man's manga contains things like tentacle rape, but that should be protected under the same laws that protect illustrations of non-specific minors.
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Posted 11/5/08
oh wow, 'protecting the children', bullsh1t. So long as all the manga gets somehow identified as redeeming literary value he'll be fine, but I don't see that happening if it includes something like Love Hina (my first manga eva!). But unless he's got a hentai in there somewhere, the defendent should be able to explain how even some of his ecchi manga, that although seems to have some focus on the panty shots and stuff, isn't mainly focused on sexual appeal.
I see this case going against our favor quite honestly. But seriously, do any of you confuse lolis in mangas to those of the ones on real life? Seriously, this is what this entire case is about.
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Posted 11/5/08
You don't need hentai to enjoy manga. -.-
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Posted 11/5/08

Kanone wrote:

You don't need hentai to enjoy manga. -.-


well of course you don't need hentai stuff in a manga to enjoy it, but sometimes it adds comedic effect to a manga, and sometimes it makes it more interesting to older viewers.
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Posted 11/5/08
I'd donate but I'm only 14 and I have no cash , though it is stupid, not like he had any real pornography...right?
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21 / F / CALIFORN-I-A
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Posted 11/5/08
ok.. so pornography is okay.. and then all of a sudden manga... ISN'T?
what the hell is wrong with the world?
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Posted 11/6/08

KariKun wrote:


Kanone wrote:

You don't need hentai to enjoy manga. -.-


sometimes it makes it more interesting to older viewers.


Does that include you? :U

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Posted 11/6/08

Kanone wrote:

You don't need hentai to enjoy manga. -.-


Men do, ;D
Besides that, thats kinda lame ~ its just art >.<
Posted 11/6/08

Kanone wrote:

You don't need hentai to enjoy manga. -.-


that's what you think. it's just like saying that you don't need to have fun while having alcohol XD
there are not rules.
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Posted 11/6/08
People randomly inspecting someones mail. if it happened 20 years ago in communist Russia I would understand, but in America... do you people have any freedom left over there? I would go crazy if someone inspected my mail (COMICS!!!) and then accuse me on something that I never did... btw, if guy loses, then every shop owner in that state that sells manga can be accused of the same crime, right? Horrible.
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Posted 11/6/08

Poison_Of_The_Heart wrote:


Kanone wrote:

You don't need hentai to enjoy manga. -.-


that's what you think. it's just like saying that you don't need to have fun while having alcohol XD











Right. :U

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Posted 11/6/08 , edited 11/6/08
LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WHAT ABOUT STATUES OF LITTLE KIDS

AND IN MUSEUMS!!!!!!!! THOUSANDS OF NAKED LITTLE KIDDIES IN PAINTINGS

BILLIONS OF NAKED KIDDIES AS STATUES

what the phuck
that is so stupid
they're just racist

just because its japanese, it has to be preverted, stupid racists














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