When Child Porn Laws Go Bad

You are a criminal.  You may not have known that but if you are fairly media savvy then most likely you are a criminal based on this conviction of a comic book collector.

Here’s the quick summary: a man who is a prolific collector of Japanese manga (comics) was found guilty of child pornography because of artwork in a series of manga that he was importing depicting depraved sex acts with children.  According to the article, this is a man who collected ALL types of manga and not just this style which puts him in the realm of what should have been considered an art collector.  He faces up to 15 years in jail.

So here’s the problem – this is a victimless crime.  There is no one who has been hurt… no one who has been wronged…  no one to be compensated.  These are drawings of fictional characters.  And the law has been left purposely vague (although less vague than the first iteration) so that it can cover things it was never meant to cover.  So now a comic collector is being put in jail and resources that could have been used to catch and prosecute real child pornographers has been wasted.

Welcome to the new world that allows for an idea to be illegal.  The most common anology to this is that if we play a video game that has us kill a virtual person are we then considered a murderer?  Sounds far-fetched doesn’t it? Now think about every school shooting over the past few years and how many times video games were blamed as influencers of the mentally flawed people who commited these crimes.

So where does the line get drawn?  Do we need to burn every copy of Lolita?  Should fans of Dakota Fanning get thrown in jail for watching Hounddog?  I guess we can’t make any more gang movies… ya know, unless no one dies of unnatural causes in them.  Slumdog Millionaire should have been X-rated based on this kind of thinking (oh wait, everyone loved it and it won awards).

What’s your opinion? (please read the article or be familiar with the case before venting)

3 Comments

  • By Insomnic, May 29, 2009 @ 12:54 pm

    It really is a weird case. Even in discussing it with you earlier more and more oddities with it kept coming to mind.

    One line in the article is (quoted directly):
    The lawyer declined to describe the details. “If they can imagine it, they drew it,” he says. “Use your imagination. It was there.”

    Now that you’ve imagined it, maybe it’s time for you to head down and turn yourself into the police…

    There’s a lot I could rant over this, but I already did in another forum (about a manga specifically about child porn being bad) and sometimes arguing the rights aspect of this case gets caught up in the morality of the topic.

    This could be an interesting thread…

  • By yoshi, May 29, 2009 @ 3:35 pm

    the laws are stupid. i’m sorry, but there are too many little loopholes.

    sadly, that’s just how it’s written.

    what’s perfectly acceptable in one culture is totally unacceptable in another. So what do we do? do we have to move to another country just to make it acceptable to collect comics?

    I’m just really disappointed in the laws. It often makes me wonder if I made the correct decision to become a citizen. Did I just lose a lot of my culture?

    This really just aggravates me.

  • By sir jorge, July 1, 2009 @ 9:12 pm

    i cited this court case in a review about “Californication” a showtime show where the main character sleeps with an underage girl, and someone tried to justify it as “not that bad”.

    There’s a double standard and no one seems to have recognized it.

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