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12 December 2008 @ 06:54 pm
20 Years in Prison for Buying Manga  
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:
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From here

w0rld4vamps: b/c it's truew0rld4vamps on December 13th, 2008 03:29 am (UTC)
dude! This is terrible. I can't believe that this kind of censorship is going to such extremes.

I can't donate.. I think I need donations right now.. but maybe I can forward this message.

How horrible.