A Word From The President Of The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

Official Press Release

A Word From The CBLDF President

The First Amendment is the cornerstone of our business. Without it, the comics and graphic novels we make and enjoy would not be as vital as they are today. But we live in an environment where our constitutional rights are constantly under attack, and that's why the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund exists. For twenty years the Fund has defended the First Amendment rights we depend upon, and to make sure we're around for another twenty years, we need your continued support.

This winter, the case of Georgia v. Gordon Lee will enter its third year. Since embarking on this defense in 2005, the Fund has spent over $72,000 defending Gordon Lee through numerous proceedings - including answering three sets of charges arising from the same incident. The Fund successfully knocked out five of the seven counts Lee originally faced, including both felony counts of "Dissemination of Unsolicited Nudity/Sexual Conduct" and three of the five misdemeanor "Harmful to Minors" counts he originally faced. However, Lee still faces two remaining misdemeanor charges of "Distribution of Harmful to Minors Materials." If convicted, each charge carries penalties of up to 12 months in prison and a $1,000 fine. This case will finally go to trial early next year, and we need your support to have the money on hand for a vigorous defense.

Defending Gordon's rights in Georgia isn't all the Fund has done this year. Including costs from the Lee case, we've spent a total of $70,000 on our legal mission work in 2006. This work included two significant advocacy cases: an ongoing challenge to Utah's draconian new Internet censorship law, and participation in the victorious outcome of Lyle v. Time-Warner, a California case that threatened free speech in the creative workplace. We have also assisted libraries on graphic novel challenges, including a letter in support of keeping Fun Home by Alison Bechdel and Blankets by Craig Thompson in the Marshall, MO public library system.

The Fund also expanded our educational advocacy work with the publication of Graphic Novels: Suggestions for Librarians and The Best Defense: The CBLDF Retailer Resource Guide. These publications are helping to educate libraries and booksellers on how to defend against the threat of censorship.

To continue these efforts, and to prepare for the casework at hand, we need you to take this moment to make a contribution to the Fund. If you need to renew your CBLDF membership, or if you have yet to join in the first place, now is the time. If you're a retailer, please consider signing up at the $100 level or above, to get your own copy of The Best Defense.

If your membership is current, I thank you, and ask that you consider making an additional gift. If you can't donate money, you can still help with a donation of original art, signed scripts, and other items that we can auction to help raise the money needed to maintain our work in the coming year. By donating money, collectibles, and/or time, you will help us continue to perform our very important work. And, of course, your contribution to the CBLDF is tax-deductible to the full extent permitted by law.

The work of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund -- to defend the First Amendment rights that we depend upon to read, make, buy, and sell comics -- has not abated in the twenty years since our establishment. Please do your part to keep the Fund fighting the challenges we currently face, and whatever threats are on the horizon, by making a donation today.

Your friend thru comics,

Chris Staros


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