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CBLDF News: Legal News, San Diego Redux, Rozanski DOL Speech & More

Official Press Release

ITEM! New Developments in Arkansas and South Carolina Cases

Last Friday the US District Judge in Charleston, SC issued an opinion

denying the state's motion to dismiss, abstain or certify questions

to the state Supreme Court pertaining to the challenge to South

Carolina's Harmful to Minors internet law. Last year the CBLDF

joined the Southeast Booksellers Association, Print Studio South,

Inc, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the

Association of American Publishers, and Families Against Internet

Censorship in a complaint protesting the State's "harmful to

minors" Internet statute. The law as written criminalizes any

work communicated on the Internet that contains a depiction of nudity

or any sexual conduct that is deemed "harmful to minors." The

law may have a chilling effect on protected speech including

legitimate artistic, scientific, and educational material

disseminated online because it prohibits distribution to adults of

material deemed unsuitable to the web's youngest users. The law

also subjects interstate use of the web to South Carolina's

regulations. The next step is to prepare and file a motion for

summary judgment.

Last Friday counsel for CBLDF and co-plaintiffs in Arkansas also

filed a motion for summary judgment against a new amendment to Act

858, which would require any content deemed "harmful to minors" to be

both segregated and blinded. Fund members in Arkansas are reporting

that the law is receiving a great deal of media scrutiny, which

supports the position of the Fund and co-plaintiffs. The motion for

summary judgment is the next step towards getting the law thrown out.

Keep reading CBLDF News for new developments in these and other cases

as they occur.

ITEM! San Diego Recap

It's hard to believe that a mere two weekends ago the entire

comics business was assembled beneath the massive roof of the San

Diego Convention center for 2003's Comic-Con International. It

was a record show in many respects. Attendance was the highest ever

with estimates coming in at 70,000 to 80,000 people. This show had

the biggest floor in the history of the con, which means that this

year's Comic-Con was probably largest comic book convention in

the history of the United States. "Just to put it in

perspective, the Comic-Con exhibit hall is roughly 10 times the size

of downtown Northampton, the Fund's home base -- and that's

not counting what's going on upstairs," said CBLDF Director

Charles Brownstein. "This show was massive."

In addition to being a record year for the Comic-Con, it was also a

record year for the CBLDF at the show. "Thanks to the generous

donations from all of our members and supporters the Fund was able to

raise $33,000 at this year's Comic-Con, an all time high for the

Fund at this show," Brownstein divulged.

Fund highlights included booth signings by Brian Azzarello, Denis

Kitchen, Keith DeCandido, Jill Thompson, Rich Koslowski, Jai Sen,

Jaime Hernandez, Joel Priddy, Larry Marder, Mark Waid, and Colleen

Coover. The coolest booth moments came when George Perez and Frank

Miller came by for their signing times and wound up doing some

phenomenal sketches for our members.

Outside the booth we had a number of special events. On Thursday

night the Fund rang in San Diego with a wildly successful

members' party at the Dublin Square. Hundreds of CBLDF members

poured into the party and ended up spilling out onto the street where

Frank Miller, Will Eisner, Neil Gaiman, and Stan Lee were all caught

mingling. Later that night SuicideGirls.com of San Diego put on a

free speech rock bash at downtown's Roseary Room.

On Friday Neil Gaiman and Frank Miller signed for nearly 1,000 fans

to benefit the Fund. The authors were signing brand new CBLDF prints

that were created especially for this signing. Friday night was the

Eisner Awards where Chuck Rozanski accepted his Defender of Liberty

award (see story below) and SPX 2002

[http://cbldf.safeshopper.com/2/82.htm?179] won an Eisner for Best

Anthology!

Saturday was the CBLDF Benefit Auction, which raised over $17,000 for

the Fund's casework. Chuck Rozanski and our able crew of

volunteers pulled off a record breaking San Diego auction that

included amazing items such as a Sandman Quilt by Michelle Hyman

presented to Neil Gaiman on his 42nd Birthday; signed Miracleman and

Big Numbers scripts by Alan Moore; Rich Koslowski's cover art to

Busted #12 and more!

Immediately following the auction Neil Gaiman gave a mid-evening

reading to over 200 fans. This captivating reading included some

never before heard material and previews from Gaiman's upcoming

work.

Sunday brought a members' only signing with Frank Miller where

everyone walked away with a sketch ­ a true rarity. "I

almost never do sketches in public," Miller said, "but I knew

that these were all folks who signed up to support the Fund and I

thought this would be a cool way to thank everyone for keeping it

running strong."

The Fund extends its thanks to everyone who supported us at the show,

the friendly and helpful Comic-Con staff, and our stellar crew of

volunteers -- Gambit, Gooch, Betsy, Stephen, John, Rowan, Vin, Karon,

and Tom ­ who made everything run smoothly.

ITEM! Chuck Rozanski Accepts 2003 Defender of Liberty Award

On Friday July 18 Chuck Rozanski accepted the 2003 Defender of

Liberty Award at the Eisner Awards ceremony in San Diego. Fund

Director Charles Brownstein introduced Chuck and presented the

award. Writing about the event in his e-mail newsletter, Rozanski

said "when I went up to the podium I experienced one of those

transcendent moments that only comes over you a few times in your

entire life. In front of a crowd of about 1,000 wonderful comics fans

and creators I began extemporaneously speaking about why I fight so

hard to protect the sanctity of free speech. Within seconds I found

myself fighting back tears as my emotions and passion overcame me.

Blessedly, however, I was able to keep speaking, and even managed to

present my thoughts in a cohesive fashion. I must have done well, as

the entire room stood in a standing ovation when I finished. Never in

my wildest dreams did I ever believe that I would receive an ovation

at the San Diego Comics Convention, much less from the likes of Will

Eisner, Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller, Sergio Aragones, and all the other

wonderful comics professionals who were in attendance. Suffice it to

say, I was unable to control my emotions as I walked off the stage,

and was crying openly. I will never, ever, forget that moment. It may

very well be the pinnacle event of my entire professional career."

The text of Chuck's speech follows below:

"As I look across this room I'm just really stunned because

this is not an award that I expected to get nor an award that I

necessarily believe that I deserve. I have tried very hard to work

to defend the rights of everyone in this industry to read and publish

and draw whatever they please, whenever they please. And that's

a freedom that my mother brought me here from Germany to enjoy.

It's a freedom which I hold very dear to my heart. But the

contribution that I've been able to make aside from simply

expressing myself philosophically has been very minimal until

recently when I've had the success of the Internet to buoy me up. But even that success has only been as a consequence of the support

of my family and the family of people at Mile High Comics who make me

look good and who do all the work that helps provide the revenue so

that I can contribute.

"We're all a community here. We don't always agree. We

have different perspectives. But at the same time there are members

of our community that on a regular basis are attacked by those who do

not share our feelings that freedom of expression is a God-given

right that we should all enjoy. At any given time over the past many

years there has been someone who has been persecuted. There have

been people who have been driven to bankruptcy for selling the very

comics that we all have the freedom to enjoy. Now that I have been

supported by others and I do have the wherewithal, I try very hard to

support the Fund and I would hope that everyone else here would

support the Fund as well.

"If you're not a member yet, it doesn't cost a lot. If

you don't have the money to join, maybe you can contribute

something from your collection that can be bid on in an auction. Or

just write a letter in support. But we've gotta defend each

other because any time that one of us is being persecuted, we are all

in danger of having our rights chipped away. And there are more than

enough people who are out there right now who for their own

pernicious reasons believe that we should not be able to say or draw

or think what we want.

"One of the things that's come up lately is the concept that

patriotism involves repression. I think that in this country ­

my adopted country ­ that patriotism, true patriotism, involves

defending the rights that the people who came before us fought and

died to achieve [applause]. What I think is critical and a

responsibility that we all should hold dear to our hearts is that we

owe it to the next generation to not leave them a world which has

greater repression and less freedom than the world we were given

[applause].

"So I ask you all to support the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund in

any way that you can. I did it even when I was broke. I try to do

it now. Our words, our actions, our thoughts, they all mean

something because we are part of this community. Thank you very

much. [Standing ovation]"

ITEM! EBay Items Direct From Comic-Con

There are five auctions launching today at noon of items the Fund

picked up at Comic-Con. Visit the Fund on eBay to bid on these great

items:

Neil Gaiman print- signed

Direct from Comic Con 2003, this print, featuring art and signed by

Neil Gaiman, was offered exclusively at the show to benefit the

CBLDF! The scan is an unsigned print, but the print being offered

here is signed by Neil. This one of the only prints of Neil's

artwork to be produced!

Pro Print signed by Ennis, Conner, Palmiotti, and Mounts

The comic that shook the industry to its very core! Well, truth be

told, it was just a really funny look at the conventions of the

medium by the master of humorous deconstruction, Garth Ennis. Aided

by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Paul Mounts, The Pro offended

the right people and amused the rest of us. Offered here, from a

signing at Jim Hanley's Universe in New York City, is the

official full color Pro Print, featuring an image from the comic and

signed by Ennis, Conner, Palmiotti, and Mounts.

Frank Miller Band Aid Print

The long out-of-print Band Aid tee shirt image is back, but this time

it's not a garment, but a signed print! Frank Miller's

shocking image is the most requested CBLDF tee shirt. Until it goes

back into production you can have one hell of an alternative in this

full color, signed print! The scan shown is not signed, but the

piece offered here bears Frank's distinctive signature! All

proceeds from this auction will go directly to the CBLDF.

Miracleman #1 signed by Alan Moore

That's right. It's not a misprint. We have not gone mad. Alan

Moore, arguably the most important writer of the medium in the last

20 years has signed a limited number of items to benefit the CBLDF.

Among them is this copy of Miracleman #1 from Eclipse. A rare book to

find in any condition, it's next to impossible to find it signed

by Moore! Remember, Moore does not attend comic conventions and the

only way to obtain a signature is with an authorized signed and

numbered edition and those are expensive and fly off the shelves!

Neil Gaiman Signed Poem

Read by Neil at this year's CBLDF benefit late night reading

during Comic Con International, this is the signed print out of

Neil's poem, "The Fairy Reel."

Bid at http://cgi6.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?

ViewSellersOtherItems&userid=cbldf&include=0&since=-1&sort=3&rows=25

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