Monday, February 07, 2005

CBLDF takes on Georgia obscenity case

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund announced it has accepted the case of Georgia retailer Gordon Lee, who was arrested after a copy of Alternative Comics #2 -- the Free Comic Book Day edition -- reached a minor during a Halloween giveaway.

The charges against Lee include distributing material depicting nudity -- punishable by one to three years in prison and fines of up to $10,000 -- and distributing obscene material to a minor.

CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein told Newsarama that Gordon's store, Legends, was participating in a local Halloween promotion, and used leftovers from Free Comic Book Day to hand out to trick-or-treaters. "The appearance of the book did not suggest that there was any inappropriate content on the inside, and apparently Gordon or his agent did not notice the ‘Mature Readers’ disclaimer on the back cover until it was too late. The book was unfortunately part of the mix being handed out.”

In the press release, Lee said: "Though I am willing to apologize for this particular art book getting in the hands that found it offensive, I will adamantly agree that the book is not 'harmful to children' or 'obscene.' In my opinion, this book is no more offensive then viewing the beautiful paintings of the Sistine Chapel or reading one of the best selling books with stories of sex, lust and nudity known as the Bible."

Tom Spurgeon has a good roundup of related links, including what the publisher believes may be the nudity in question.