Happy New Year! OK, so maybe it’s not the new year yet, but along with the rest of the world we’re looking forward to the end of 2020 and the beginning of what’s next.
On January 28, 2021, we’ll be hosting a special online membership event to discuss how the CBLDF is working to build a better future for the comic arts. This panel will provide an overview of our agenda for the coming year, from rebooting current programs to launching new initiatives. There will also be plenty of time for Q&A and sharing your ideas. More details to follow in January — we hope that you’ll be able to join us!
In the meantime, here’s a brief update on what we’ve been doing since our last newsletter. First and foremost, we’ve continued to assist creators, retailers, educators, and librarians in comics-related free speech matters. Our efforts over the past year have included helping to negotiate the removal of a trademark-related takedown notice directed at a cartoon parody, challenging social media bans, and responding to multiple attempts at restricting access to graphic novels. If it seems like we haven’t been announcing these incidents as much as before, that’s deliberate — one of the reforms we’ve introduced is to hold off on reporting challenges until negotiations break down or the matter is resolved, an approach that can be helpful in achieving positive results.
On the education front, our graphic novel guides for teachers and librarians help preempt challenges and provide material that can aid in responding. We will be updating this series in 2021, so any recommendations as to books to cover or material to include would be welcome.
Of course, preparing new ethics policies is another priority. We’ve been discussing ways for our ethics codes to reflect the highest standards for nonprofits while being more responsive to comics culture, especially at conventions, and look forward to sharing them soon.
We’ve also started to expand the type of assistance we provide the comics community and to clarify the full scope of our mission. For example, we answered questions on comic book contracts at this year’s SPX and provided resources for comics businesses affected by COVID-19, with updates to follow should Congress pass a new relief bill. With regard to the mission, you might want to check our “Mission, What’s Possible?“, which we’ll be discussing further at our January 28th event.
Most importantly, the CBLDF grew out of a collective effort by the comics community to protect its constitutional rights, and restoring this participatory culture is vital. We’re eager to hear your thoughts about how the CBLDF can best help address the challenges of today – our upcoming meeting will, we hope, be the first of many opportunities for members to become more directly involved.
All of which is to say, thank you! Your support has made a tremendous difference, and your commitment to the future of comics is a true inspiration to us all. Here’s to bright futures!
Director of Operations
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund