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CBLDF legal victories, Jim Lee Dinner Auction

by  in Comic News Comment
CBLDF legal victories, Jim Lee Dinner Auction

Official Press Release

June has brought two important First Amendment victories for the
creators of expressive speech. But first, we’d like to call your
attention to a tremendous opportunity to spend time with two of the
Fund’s staunchest supporters.

ITEM! Jim Lee Dinner Auction

On June 28th Jim Lee will be signing in Denver, Colorado at the Mile
High Comics megastore. You’ll remember that in November 2002 Jim
auctioned himself off to benefit the Fund ­ a fundraiser that
raised over $8,000 for the CBLDF’s legal work. On June 28th Jim
will make good on that auction by signing at Mile High from 1-4 PM.

Following the June 28th signing Jim will go to dinner with Chuck
Rozanski and 5 lucky fans. In keeping with his generous nature, Mile
High founder Chuck Rozanski chose to give the seats at the dinner to
his loyal customers and to give the last seat over to a supporter of
the CBLDF. Well, the time has come to auction off that fifth seat,
and Chuck has raised the ante one more time. Visit eBay between now
and Sunday for a chance to bid on that fifth seat at the dinner AND
$500 in comics from Mile High! All proceeds from this auction will
benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the winner will have
the opportunity to spend an evening with two industry giants who are
also some of the nicest and most generous human beings you’ll
ever meet.

To bid visit:

ITEM! Even More Cool CBLDF Auctions

Also be sure to visit the CBLDF on eBay this week to bid on great
stuff including Super Friends action figures; signed prints by Will
Eisner and Terry Moore; a signed Frank Miller tip-in plate; even a
rare Alan Moore newspaper interview outlining his career as a
magician. Bid now by visiting

ITEM! Free Speech Victories in California and Missouri

Last week the California State Supreme Court unanimously decided in
favor of DC Comics and the creators of Jonah Hex: Riders of the Worm
& Such in the long-running dispute with Johnny and Edgar Winter. The
California Supremes agreed with arguments set forth in DC’s
briefs and in an amicus brief filed by the MPAA, CBLDF, and others,
that the characters Johnny & Edgar Autumn used in the series were
legitimate expressions in the context of a larger, First Amendment
protected, expressive work.

The Court found, “Although the fictional characters Johnny and
Edgar Autumn are less-than-subtle evocations of Johnny and Edgar
Winter, the books do not depict plaintiffs literally. Instead,
plaintiffs are merely part of the raw materials from which the comic
books were synthesized. To the extent the drawings of the Autumn
brothers resemble plaintiffs at all, they are distorted for purposes
of lampoon, parody, or caricature. And the Autumn brothers are but
cartoon characters ­ half-human and half-worm ­ in a larger
story, which itself is quite expressive.” The court continued,
“the comic books are transformative and entitled to First
Amendment protection.”

The CBLDF salutes the DC Comics legal team for their victory in the
most recent round of this important case. For more information about
this case, visit

The other very important victory was the Eighth Circuit Court of
Appeals decision in favor of the video game industry in their battle
against St. Louis County. Last year a St. Louis district court
upheld a law that “makes it unlawful for any person knowingly to
sell, rent, or make available graphically violent video games to
minors, or to `permit the free play of’ graphically violent
video games by minor, without a parent or guardian’s
consent.” The Appeals court reversed that decision and remanded
the case to the district court with instructions to enter an
injunction consistent with this new decision.

An important aspect of the Eighth Circuit decision is that it
affirmed video games as protected speech. The court wrote, “If
the first amendment is versatile enough to `shield [the] painting
of Jackson Pollock, music of Arnold Schoenberg, or Jabberwocky verse
of Lewis Carroll,’…we see no reason why the pictures, graphic
design, concept art, sounds, music, stories, and narrative present in
video games are not entitled to a similar protection.” The court
added, “We note, moreover, that there is no justification for
disqualifying video games as speech simply because they are
constructed to be interactive; indeed, literature is most successful
when it `draws the reader into the story, makes him identify with
the characters, invites him to judge them and quarrel with them, to
experience their joys and sufferings as the reader’s own.'”

The Court also quashed the argument that video game violence is
obscene for minors. “We reject the County’s suggestion that
we should find that the `graphically violent’ video games in
this case are obscene as to minors and therefore entitled to less
protection. It is true that obscenity is one of the few categories
of speech historically unprotected by the first amendment. … But
we have previously observed that ‘[m]aterial that contains violence
but not depictions or descriptions of sexual conduct cannot be
obscene.’ … Simply put, depictions of violence cannot fall within
the legal definition of obscenity for either minors or adults.”

In the decision’s concluding paragraphs, the Court addressed the
County’s language that the goal of the ordinance was to assist
parents in policing the content their children encounter. The Court
wrote, “We do not mean to denigrate the government’s role in
supporting parents or the right of parents to control their
children’s exposure to graphically violent materials. We merely
hold that the government cannot silence protected speech by wrapping
itself in the cloak of parental authority. … To accept the
County’s broadly-drawn interest as a compelling one would be to
invite legislatures to undermine the first amendment rights of minors
willy-nilly under the guise of promoting parental authority.”

For more on these cases visit

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