Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is launching an all new Summer Reading Challenge to encourage a diverse and continuous reading habit through graphic novels and comic books! Are you up for the challenge? Join the CBLDF Summer Reading Challenge and read a new graphic novel each week this summer!

Love teaching? Join us! Love graphic novels? You are not alone. New to graphic novels but curious? We want you! Wanting to use a specific novel with students? We can help!

Coronavirus Resources

The Coronavirus crisis impacts all of us. At CBLDF, we’re here to serve the community, so this week we’re sharing resources that can help you cope with the challenges we’re all facing. We have created new tools, including a comprehensive state-by-state clearinghouse resource for f ...

She Changed Comics: Name Your Price eBook & Free Lessons For Remote Learning

Celebrate Women’s History Month with She Changed Comics, the untold story of the women who changed free expression in comics. To help provide for our community, CBLDF is making the digital edition of She Changed Comics pay what you want ...

Get Free Resources for Remote Learning with CBLDF

CBLDF is committed to helping parents, educators, and students turn challenges into triumphs in remote learning situations. Check out all the free resources we have for you to help keep your kids interested and learning, including lesson plans and discussion guides for more than 50 graphic novels! ...

Retailer Spotlight on COVID-19

Comic book retailers are the foundation of the comic book industry as we know it. They serve as beacons of light in increasingly troubled times, hubs in their communities where people can find the stories that they need. CBLDF is working to do whatever we...

Support CBLDF With (Almost) Everything You Buy Online!

There’s an easy way to fight for free expression with everything you buy online: designate CBLDF for your Amazon Smile donations! When you shop at smile.amazon.com, a nonprofit of your choosing will get a portion of the proceeds,...

Webinars

Remote Retailing: Connecting with Your Customer Online The COVID-19 Crisis is causing massive disruptions to the way retail stores conduct business. With the need for social distancing and an influx of mandatory business shut-downs, retailers are now required to find innovative ways to...

CBLDF Protects The First Amendment!

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the First Amendment rights of the comics medium. Our work takes us into courtrooms, classrooms, conventions and libraries all over the United States where we provide legal aid, education, and advocacy to protect th ...

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CBLDF Forms Coalition to Defend American Comics Reader Facing Criminal Charges In Canada

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund today announces that it is forming a coalition to support the legal defense of an American citizen who is facing criminal charges in Canada that could result in a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in prison for comics brought into the country on his laptop. This incident is the most serious in a trend the CBLDF has been tracking involving the search and seizure of the print and electronic comic books carried by travelers crossing borders.

CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein says, “Although the CBLDF can’t protect comic fans everywhere in every situation, we want to join this effort to protect an American comic fan being prosecuted literally as he stood on the border of our country for behavior the First Amendment protects here, and its analogues in Canadian law should protect there.”

The CBLDF has agreed to assist in the case by contributing funds towards the defense, which has been estimated to cost $150,000 CDN. The CBLDF will also provide access to experts and assistance on legal strategy. The CBLDF’s efforts are joined by the recently re-formed Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund, a Canadian organization that will contribute to the fundraising effort. Please contribute to this endeavor by making a tax deductible contribution here.

The facts of the case involve an American citizen, computer programmer, and comic book enthusiast in his mid-twenties who was flying from his home in the United States to Canada to visit a friend. Upon arrival at Canadian Customs a customs officer conducted a search of the American and his personal belongings, including his laptop, iPad, and iPhone. The customs officer discovered manga on the laptop and considered it to be child pornography. The client’s name is being withheld on the request of counsel for reasons relating to legal strategy.

The images at issue are all comics in the manga style. No photographic evidence of criminal behavior is at issue. Nevertheless, a warrant was issued and the laptop was turned over to police. Consequently, the American has been charged with both the possession of child pornography as well as its importation into Canada. As a result, if convicted at trial, the American faces a minimum of one year in prison. This case could have far reaching implications for comic books and manga in North America.

The CBLDF’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to aid the case by raising funds to contribute to the defense and to help the defense with strategy and expert resources.

Brownstein says, “This is an important case that impacts the rights of everyone who reads, publishes, and makes comics and manga in North America. It underscores the dangers facing everyone traveling with comics, and it can establish important precedents regarding travelers rights. It also relates to the increasingly urgent issue of authorities prosecuting art as child pornography. While this case won’t set a US precedent, it can inform whatever precedent is eventually set. This case is also important with respect to artistic merit in the Canadian courts, and a good decision could bring Canadian law closer to US law in that respect. With the help of our supporters, we hope to raise the funds to wage a fight that yields good decisions and to create tools to help prevent these sorts of cases from continuing to spread.”

Find out more on the case here. To help support the case, you can make a monetary contribution here.

About CBLDF
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1986 as a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of First Amendment rights for members of the comics community. They have defended dozens of Free Expression cases in courts across the United States, and led important education initiatives promoting comics literacy and free expression. For additional information, donations, and other inquiries call 800-99-CBLDF or visit them online at www.cbldf.org.

About CLLDF
The Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1987 to raise money for the defense of a Calgary, Alberta comic shop whose owners were charged with selling obscene materials. The CLLDF has since been maintained on an ad hoc basis to provide financial relief for Canadian comics retailers, publishers, professionals, or readers whose right to free speech has been infringed by civil authorities. Largely dormant since the early 1990s, the CLLDF is reforming to provide support for this case, and reorganizing to ensure that help will be readily available for future cases involving Canadian citizens or authorities. To help the CLLDF in this mission, please go to www.clldf.ca.

Larry Marder’s CBLDF Liberty Cards Diary #12

Hi, Friends of Liberty!

Welcome to the 12 installment of our behind the scenes sneak peeks of CBLDF Liberty Trading Cards.

Past posts have centered on depictions of fan-fave characters created by well known artists like Matt Wagner, Stan Sakai, James Kochalka, Jeff Smith, Erik Larsen, and Todd McFarlane.

Today, I’m going to show you some of the more off-beat cards I’ve had the pleasure of discovering in the increasingly large treasure trove of one-of-a-kind artist sketch cards that are amassing in the Cryptozoic Entertainment Loot Vault.

CBLDF Heads to the ALA Annual Conference with Exclusive Babymouse Print

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is excited to announce its plans for the 2011 American Library Association Annual Conference, taking place this weekend in New Orleans, Louisiana! You’ll find CBLDF at booth 1749 in the Graphic Novel Pavilion throughout the weekend!

As part of our ongoing educational programming and outreach into the Library community, the CBLDF has planned a number of exciting programs throughout the weekend.

On Friday night, during the Exhibits Opening Reception from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., we will be kicking off the conference weekend in the Graphic Novel Pavilion with an incredible Live Art event, co-sponsored by First Second Books and hosted by First Second Editorial Director and Cartoonist Marc Seigel. Artists will include Dave Roman (Astronaut Elementary), Raina Telgemeier (The Babysitters Club), Jim Ottaviani (Feynman), Ben Hatke (Zita the Spacegirl), and Eric Wight (Frankie Pickle). These talented and popular cartoonists will be drawing onstage, and the artwork created will be available for bidding in a silent auction throughout the event, with all proceeds supporting the CBLDF.

Over the course of the weekend, we will be accepting donations at our booth in exchange for several exciting premiums, including a brand new Babymouse print by creators Jennifer and Matthew Holm. On Saturday afternoon, starting at 1:00 p.m., Jennifer L. Holm will be signing these one-of-a-kind prints at our booth, and they will be offered as an incentive to join the CBLDF at our $25 membership level. We will also have a number of other signed prints, signed books, and t-shirts, all available as donation incentives, and benefiting our ongoing First Amendment legal work.

Another exciting CBLDF program will be ongoing testimonial interviews throughout the conference. We invite all participants who have encountered challenges to Free Speech to tell their story and have it documented in our video archives. We also invite participants to discuss their involvement with Graphic Novels and Comics, as this singular art form has risen in popularity over the past several years.

These testimonials will be used as part of an educational video series, and the participation of librarians is key to making this project informative and genuine. With actual testimonials from working librarians, who are fighting for free expression in towns and cities across the country, we can create a resource that will show the good work being done in our nation’s libraries, and present a living document of First Amendment advocacy for years to come.

The CBLDF is incredibly proud to be involved with this year’s American Library Association Annual Conference. Librarians have always been on the front lines in the fight for Free Speech, and we look forward to continuing that important fight together!

Find CBLDF at at booth 1749 in the Graphic Novel Pavilion during the ALA Annual Conference, taking place this weekend at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana!

Larry Marder’s CBLDF Liberty Cards Diary #11

Hello Friends of Liberty!

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization is dedicated to protecting First Amendment rights of the comic book community. That means all of us: creators, publishers, distributors, retailers, librarians, and fans. It’s CBLDF’s mission to spring into action whenever and wherever we are needed to protect freedom of speech.

We are living in transitional times. In the past, much of the suppression of free speech focused on comic book shops. As the 21st century unfolds, some overzealous people forget how the constitution guarantees our rights to express ourselves without the censorship or impediment of government.

New Tennessee Law Threatens Freedom of Expression

There’s a new law in Tennessee that threatens freedom of expression and the right to privacy. Last week, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed into law HB 300, which makes criminals out of those who post images online that cause “emotional distress,” even when the emotionally distressed individual is not the intended recipient.

The language of the bill is extremely vague and open to interpretation; a prosecutor need only convince a jury that an image, phrase, or link was posted with the express purpose of causing distress in order for HB 300 to be invoked. Anyone who sees an image online can become a victim under the auspices of the law as written.

Larry Marder’s CBLDF Liberty Cards Diary #10

Hey there, Friends if Liberty!

Here I am again with the tenth episode of behind the scenes at CBLDF Liberty Trading cards.

You know the story by now, don’t you? CBLDF and Cryptozoic Entertainment’s have teamed up to produce a 72 card set showing the incredible history of comic book censorship through words and pictures. The illustrations for the base cards are stacking up and I’ll be showing some more of those next week.

Supreme Court May Soon Make Decision About Violent Video Games

It’s a case that calls to mind the 1950s-era attacks on comic books and the censorship of the Comics Code. Does the First Amendment allow limits on the violent content in popular entertainment — in this case video games — sold to minors? Brown v. EMA (formerly Schwarzenegger v. EMA) may soon answer that question, with a final decision from the Supreme Court expected soon.

Transmetropolitan: All Around the World Makes Its Way Around The World

Last week, a bevy of CBLDF volunteers descended on the Pirates Press warehouse to pack up and ship Transmetropolitan: All Around the World, the hotly anticipated art book celebrating Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson’s dystopian masterpiece. Those of you who’ve already gotten your copies know just how gorgeous the book is!

CBLDF would like to thank the volunteers who helped us with shipping: Project Manager Susan Augér, Bryan Burnett, Greg Burnett, Sonia Harris, Alexis Nomm, Ted C. Roland, Seamus Tuohy, and Terry Taplin. Additional thanks go to the entire crew at Pirates Press, including Sam Harris, who designed the book and coordinated shipping, and project manager Chunk Kelly.

Finally, CBLDF thanks Ellis, Robertson, Augér, and all of the contributors for assembling a knockout volume!

If you haven’t received your copy, it should arrive soon! For those of you who still need to order a copy, a limited number are available in the CBLDF store.

CBLDF, Booksellers, Artists, ACLU Seek to Bar Utah Law Restricting Speech on Internet

Yesterday, a coalition including CBLDF, booksellers, media companies, artists, and the ACLU of Utah asked the federal district court in Salt Lake City to permanently bar enforcement of a Utah statute that restricts constitutionally-protected speech on the Internet. Although passed in 2005, the statute has not been in effect because Utah consented to a temporary injunction barring its enforcement.

Utah’s law seeks to regulate all Internet speech that some might consider “harmful to minors,” including works of visual art, photography, graphic novels, and information about sexual health and the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth.

Larry Marder’s CBLDF Liberty Cards Diary #8

Hi, Friends of Liberty!

I spent the afternoon at the Crytpozoic Entertainment offices yesterday. Saw a whole lotta cards that have come in over the last week. Incredibly diverse stuff. Artists featuring their own characters. Artists taking a shot at favorite characters and rendering them in their own unique style. A great example of that is showcased in these sneak-peek of a few Savage Dragon cards below…

The CBLDF and TFAW Announce Third Annual SDCC Autograph Card / CBLDF Auction Event

For the past two years, Things From Another World (TFAW) and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) have teamed up with comics professionals, such as Jim Lee, Charlie Adlard, Philip Tan and more, to help raise more than $60,000 for the annual CBLDF auction at San Diego Comic-Con. Now, TFAW and CBLDF are proud to announce their Third Annual SDCC Autograph Card/CBLDF Auction event!

As in years past, TFAW is asking artists to create original sketches to donate to the CBLDF auction at San Diego Comic-Con. However, this year, Marvel and DC Comics have generously agreed to allow artists to use their proprietary characters in these CBLDF sketches!

Larry Marder’s CBLDF Liberty Cards Diary #7

Things are really heating up for CBLDF Liberty Trading Cards on my end of things. All sorts of cards are starting to arrive at the Cryptozoic Entertainment offices, and every time I get over there I see something new.

Today, let’s take a look-see at the front of our CBLDF creator autograph cards. All over the realm of comics, writer and artist champions of liberty are signing their names to their pictures to help CBLDF raise the funds necessary to defend everyone’s constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of speech under the First Amendment.

40 Years On, One Man’s Vulgarity Is Still Another’s Lyric

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision on Cohen v. California — a decision that still shapes how the First Amendment is interpreted and protected today.

The First Amendment Center took a moment to remember the case, which centered on one man’s First Amendment right to protest the Vietnam War by wearing a jacket bearing profane language. In 1968, Paul Robert Cohen was arrested in California for disturbing the peace by offensive conduct. Cohen’s conviction was ultimately overturned by a majority decision in the Supreme Court.