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20 Years in Prison for Buying Manga

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lambchopsil
Post #532196
user avatar
Archon Solon
 

12:36 am, Dec 13 2008
Posts: 8019


Yes, you read that right. Here's the deal. Christopher Handley of Iowa, USA was arrested about half a year ago for buying manga. One day, he receives 7 volumes of manga from the post office because he ordered them from Japan. The authorities follow him home because they already investigated the volumes and deemed them "obscene" and "objectionable." He is arrested, and they confiscate his whole collection: DVDs, manga volumes, VHS tapes, computers, etc. And now he faces a trial and up to 20 years in prison. All for ordering manga.

Now, it's true that sources say that some of the manga in question are yaoi. Sure, he may have had some hentai in his vast collection. But that's not the point. He was just going to read them in private in his own home. He didn't commit some heinous crime and rape someone. The issue here is about freedom. Your personal freedom.

The point is this. You decide what you want to read. Some of you (including me) will never read yaoi. Or yuri, or hentai, or gory/bloody stuff like Elfen Lied. That's our choice to make.
But what about this scenario? Your favorite series doesn't have any of that stuff usually. But just one place, in say volume 7, contains a single scene of rape to get the plot going in an interesting direction (mind you, it wasn't that graphic either). Now imagine the authorities busting into your house and arresting you because you own a manga series with that some obscene content here and there.

So how does this apply to you? Naruto has had some pretty graphic deaths before. Same goes for Bleach. You a shoujo fan? Ever read Peach Girl? Now read this news article. You can name many examples taken from your favorite series. I for one can think of scenes from Mahou Sensei Negima!, something I have personally helped scanlate for the last 2-3 years. Or even Gantz, which I know tons of you read. So who draws the line for what you read? You or them?

Now, I know what you're thinking. All your manga is downloaded, so there's no physical evidence of what you're reading. But investigators can check your hard drive or the trail you leave on the internet for what sites you visit. This may just be the beginning to something broader that could affect you in the future. Future technology could make it much harder for you to get your entertainment. Who can say? (Or the unspoken question: When/Will the companies finally crack down on fansubbing and scanlating?)

Or you're saying that you don't read any of that "hardcore" stuff? For sure you're safe... for now... With the current laws, you won't get prosecuted for reading Gantz (at least I hope so). But things can change, possibly for the worst.

So what can you do? I realize that a lot of you aren't even in the United States. But at least some scanlators are. And there are many manga fans here in the US too. I also realize that a lot of us don't have much money. (Or else why would we download illegally for free?) If you feel willing to help monetarily for this court case and future similar cases, you can do so by donating. If not, you can still spread the news to all the manga fans you know. At least I got you thinking. We fans could use better unity.

Or you can totally ignore this and feel it doesn't apply. Your choice.

For more information:
Donation Link
http://www.cbldf.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=2

Background Information
http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2008-10-10/iowa-collector-charged-for-allegedly-obscene-manga
http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2008-11-24/lawyer-indicates-manga-in-iowa-obscenity-case-are-yaoi

Other Editorials
http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/editorial/2008-12-11/christopher-handley/jason-thompson
http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/editorial/2008-12-11/christopher-handley/carl-horn

This news post does not necessarily reflect the official view of MangaUpdates. This was written by I, lambchopsil, admin of MU. This is meant to get dead fans thinking outside of their own little worlds. There actually IS a global fan base for anime and manga.

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Tenshinchigi
Post #532197
user avatar
Member

1:54 am, Dec 13 2008
Posts: 35


From what I understand the series that got him thrown into jail were Shotacon series, ie. Kiddy porn, which is illegal not only in America, but virtually every contrey in the world.

And yes, that includes drawn pictures too. It was only recently added to Americas laws, and by Bush. But the Amber Alert laws include laws against depictions of Child Pornography. America was actually pretty far behind in the matter, only recently outlawing it, while it's been illegal in other major countries for years.

So It's not just Americans, the rest of the world has to watch out too. Your p0rnz are no longer safe.

Invader_Chimp
Post #532198
Member

1:58 am, Dec 13 2008
Posts: 1


This guy who got arrested for ordering manga probably wasn't ordering Naruto or Negima or anything like that. The writer makes it seem like the FBI now has permission to bust into to our homes if we get caught reading Bleach or something. I bet anything this guy ordered some sick stuff with most likely lolis and rape, not just some normal manga. As long as you dont read this junk it should be OK.

naikan
Post #532199 - Reply to (#532197) by Tenshinchigi
Member

2:15 am, Dec 13 2008
Posts: 83


The sources say it was yaoi depicting adults that looked ambiguously young. Which is certainly possible. If that's the case, then fans of Haruka Minami and CJ Michalski are in trouble, not to mention a few other authors who write stories about 20 year old men that look 10. :/

RilleL
Post #532200
user avatar
Member

2:38 am, Dec 13 2008
Posts: 172


Wtf, this is just sick! Since when is manga illegal, shotacon or otherwise?
He's facing charges for obscenity in manga? First of all, have those guys even read manga?
Secondly, am I the only one having watched hollywood movies? There's plenty of obscenity in there. Or does that only apply to manga? Prejudice, fear and disgust about things you're not familiar with. Now where have I heared that before...
My god there is something really wrong about the american legal system, or maybe moral system.

Aleph0
Post #532201
Member

2:43 am, Dec 13 2008
Posts: 14


... in preventing ink & paper from being molestated. This law is a retarded one.

channel_49
Post #532202
user avatar
Member

2:43 am, Dec 13 2008
Posts: 16


Wow what a load of bull.

Maybe tomorrow they'll start banning all bishojo because characters never look like they're 18. I'm Canadian, and I hate America and all the late hypocritical shit they pull. I don't read yaoi or loli, but I STILL think this is a load of shit.

Djamu
Post #532203 - Reply to (#532198) by Invader_Chimp
user avatar
Member

2:45 am, Dec 13 2008
Posts: 2


So if I read this corrcetly, what you're saying is > horror / thriller movies should be banned ( and prosecutioned ) too because they'll make you really do that stuff....
mmm maybe you're right.. no wonder America got the highest % of inmates ...

I wonder who's the sickest ... dumb bible fanatics

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fortune-teller
Post #532204
user avatar
Member

2:51 am, Dec 13 2008
Posts: 3


It's really unbelievable how some countries enforce moral codes through severe punishment. I wouldn't want to live in such a country. This would be unthinkable where I live. And trying to change or soften those laws is quite futile since the lawmakers and the majority of the population have a deep rooted way of thinking concerning moral and tradition.

Aeylis
Post #532205
user avatar
Yaaawn
Member

2:54 am, Dec 13 2008
Posts: 746


I don't read any of the 'yaoi' or loli stuff but honestly now. There are normal books, like all text BOOKS that are way worse than that stuff...I mean if the guy is actually thinking or acting like he wants to do what was in the book then they have a legitimate reason to arrest him, but come on...

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Spawnblade
Post #532206
user avatar
Member

3:06 am, Dec 13 2008
Posts: 468


I personally detest shotacon, and yaoi, and various other 'sketchy' manga genres.

However this is rather difficult to take in. Particularly because of how many series actually have one scene (as you noted) of some under-aged girl with her shirt off, in the Japanese fashion of odd humor. Also, manwha like Ubel Blatt would fall under this category.

I have no love for the genres that focus on the illicit material, but the fact is that nearly all manga contains objectionable content in some chapter or another. And this case may simply be a gateway to prosecuting those that do not even hold interest in that 'fetish'.

seraimes
Post #532207
user avatar
 Member

3:16 am, Dec 13 2008
Posts: 15


OMG That SUCKS!! Why is he arrested for BUYING mangas. I feel so bad for the poor guy. If the US doesn't want people buying those types of mangas then they should ban it so EVERYONE knows about it. I'm sure he didn't know it was illegal, otherwise he wouldn't have done it. Sighhh poor guy.

Heirojero
Post #532208
user avatar
Member

3:16 am, Dec 13 2008
Posts: 56


This is wrong, they shouldn't arrest him just for ordering some manga even if the content was questionable. Like someone said, are they gonna arrest people for questionable books and movies next. Am I gonna have to start worrying about arrest because I got a copy of Lolita?

leoak
Post #532209
user avatar
Member

4:05 am, Dec 13 2008
Posts: 72


OMG I got to get out of the country!! I was just reading a yaoi Kuroshitsuji DJ... Well, if I wasn't paranoid about having the data on my dead hard drive recovered, I sure as hell am now. I had a yaoi D.Gray-man DJ on the desktop. I'm not a shotacon fan per se, but Mizukami Shin and CJ Michalski really know how to work the genre. The yaoi with preschoolers just isn't something I could read, but high school-age is different (I'm only a few years older than a high schooler anyway).

From what I read in the articles, it's not that he had shotacon, but it's the typical issue non-fans have - they can't tell the age/gender of the characters because they don't know anything about the artwork.

Example: My older brother was drinking from a mug with a Viewfinder character on it for months. The entire time, he thought the character was a long haired girl (so did my mom) and freaked when I told him it was actually a guy in his mid 20s. My parents can't, for the life of them, tell you if a character is a girl or guy, much less guess at an age.

I hope someone explains the age/gender issue to the jury at his trial. Yaoi characters do look young (girls don't want to read about two fat, bald 50ish guys getting hot and heavy), but they tend to be university students, business guys or adults. The only exception that might sink him is the high school yaoi. That and him being a guy reading "gay porn" might not go so good with the jury.

As a yaoi fan, the obscenity charges freak me out. I live in the U.S. (in the south of all places!) so I could be total screwed if "gay cartoon porn" was an arrestable offense. Let's face it, even if yaoi passed the Miller Test in the U.S., that fact that it's gay porn in a homophobic country will automatically get you thrown in jail.

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blibli
Post #532210
user avatar
Member

4:08 am, Dec 13 2008
Posts: 53


So... technically, if I were to buy a book....let's say Ai Yori Aoshi... the last book....(which I have...) They (FBI and etc) have the right to bust in my room, and just arrest me for reading the book... They may as well going S.W.A.T'ing into Tokyopop building and busting same asses... What exactly is the difference between buying it in Japan from mail, and buying it in a local Barnes and Noble... Back to Ai Yori Aoshi... I PURELY read it for entertainment....no...not that kind of entertainment....more as in something to read, and something to keep me from being bored as hell. For an imaginative person like me, not to be cocky or arrogant, I could easily imagine a scene with my own brain from reading a textbook or novel. SO in the end...they may as well burn all the books in the U.S, I live in the U.S and I feel like almost all of my rights are being stripped away...

I may not make any sense because I'm pretty damn pissed off...

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