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A message from CBLDF President Denis Kitchen

Official Press Release

When the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund was established in 1986, it was to support the defense of retailers who found themselves in trouble for daring to sell a handful of comics aimed at older readers. Over the years the idea that comics can speak to adults on their terms has become less radical to the general public, but too often in the eyes of the law, they're still just for kids. Ineach of the last three national election years, the Fund has defended a case that tries to press that point. As we approach the 2004 election, we need your support so that when the next cases arrive, as unfortunately we can be certain they will, we can afford to defend them, to ensure that you can keep reading, or creating, or publishing, or selling, comics and graphic novels.

There are many signs that the next legal battle is imminent. This year both Arkansas and Michigan passed new laws attempting to ban the display and dissemination of "harmful-to-minors" materials. On the surface these laws are supposed to shield minors from explicit materials, but they are so ambiguously phrased that they actually threaten a great deal of the constitutionally protected materials that support the individuals who earn their living from comics.

This year, the federal government passed PROTECT, a dangerous law that broadens the definition of child pornography in a fashion that threatens any work addressing the idea of minors engaged in sexual conduct, whether an actual minor is involved or not. Even co-sponsor Patrick Leahy condemned this provision of the law, saying it"goes too far." This law and the PATRIOT Act includeprovisions allowing for increased surveillance of individuals and businesses that can be carried out under a cloak of secrecy, so who can say what's happening that we aren't seeing?

The CBLDF is actively following and fighting these laws. As full members of Media Coalition, a national association of free speech advocacy groups, we have participated in nearly a dozen amicus briefs challenging laws like Arkansas Act 858, the Child Online Protection Act, South Carolina's Harmful to Minors Internet Law, evenprovisions of the PATRIOT Act. We've also lent our name to cases whose precedents would affect the freedom of creators to take advantage of their First Amendment right to free expression, such as Winters v. DC Comics, New Times v. Isaacks, and Tyne v. Time Warner. We're keeping you informed about these fights and the new laws onthe horizon in Busted!, which has become one of the country's leading magazines covering the national First Amendment climate.

This is necessary work and we need your support so we can continue to do it. By making a tax-deductible donation to the CBLDF you will allow us to build up our war chest so we can wage a first-class legal defense the next time a member of the comics community is caught in a legal crossfire. You will help us to take action to stop bad laws before they start and prevent bad precedents from infecting the law.

Please contribute to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund today. If you haven't yet renewed your membership, now is the time to do so. If you're not a member but earn a living from comics, then youhave no excuse for not joining now. If you have already paid thisyear's dues, we thank you and we ask you to please use this opportunity to increase your support.

Please visit www.cbldf.org and make your tax-deductible contribution today.

Sincerely,

Denis Kitchen,

President

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