Keep up with the news by installing RT’s extension for . Never miss a story with this clean and simple app that delivers the latest headlines to you.

 

Jail time for cartoon porn

Published time: April 23, 2010 05:56
Edited time: April 23, 2010 05:56

Christopher Handley is going to prison for six months for possessing a form of Japanese animation that depicts images some consider child porn. Even if the material is obscene, should it be illegal?

In 2006, US computer programmer Christopher Handley ordered seven books of Japanese comic books known as manga. The books, however, never reached Handley’s extensive manga collection. They were seized at the border by US Customs officials and Handley was charged with mailing and possessing “obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children.”

Handley was charged under the Protect Act of 2003, which makes illegal any sexually explicit artwork that does not have “serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.” His sentencing on Feb. 15 to six months in prison makes him the first person to go to prison for possessing cartoons.

Handley’s defenders draw a line between pictures of actual people and stylized drawings. In an article on the Comic Alliance Web site, Laura Hudson writes “The most important difference between child pornography and drawings, of course, is that making child porn involves the abuse of real children, while drawings are not people and so creating them involves no abuse. “

In an interview with Wired magazine, Charles Brownstein, executive director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, implied that Handley should be considered an art collector.

“This art that this man possessed as part of a larger collection of manga … is now the basis for [a sentence] designed to protect children from abuse,” said Brownstein.

Other supporters focused on the free speech implications of the conviction. The person behind the blog Ogiue Maniax wrote: “I do not ask comics to be like literature or high art, but what I do hope is that comics, comic creators, and comic readers as a whole can achieve all of the possibilities of the medium without having to worry about their ideas being considered too ‘obscene’ or ‘wrong.’”

Christopher Macdonald from the Anime News Network told RT: “Most anime and manga fans aren’t collecting that sort of material but still no actual children were harmed in the making of this material. This case is really part of a conflict between freedom of expression and obscenity laws.”

Macdonald also pointed out that American sensibilities may also have played a role in the conviction.

“Ther are Definitely cultural difference at play here,” said Macdonald. “North America has a different viewpoint on pornography and obscenity whereas in Japan many other places, it’s deemed harmless even if it’s deemed disgusting.”

Comments

Add comment

Authorization required for adding comments

Register or

Name

Password

Show password

Register

or Register

Request a new password

Send

or Register

To complete a registration check
your Email:

OK

or Register

A password has been sent to your email address

Edit profile

X

Name

New password

Retype new password

Current password

Save

Cancel

Follow us