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Canadian Charges Against US Manga Reader Dropped

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the ok-but-no-more-funny-drawings-eh? dept.

Canada 298

tverbeek writes "The U.S.-based Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the Canada-based Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund have announced that the Canadian government has withdrawn all criminal charges in R. v. Matheson, a case which involved a U.S. citizen who was arrested and faced criminal charges in Canada relating to manga found on his computer when he entered the country. Customs agents declared the illustrations of fictional characters to be 'child pornography.' The defendant, a 27-year-old comic book reader, amateur artist, and computer programmer, has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing. Despite financial assistance from the CBLDF and CLLDF, he has an outstanding debt of $45K for his defense."

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Drop charges == pay? (5, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 2 years ago | (#39369847)

If you drop charges from the case then you should pay the legal fees for the defense. Or is this up to the judge?

Re:Drop charges == pay? (4, Insightful)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39369907)

That might encourage people to never stop/drop, though, like SCO. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Re:Drop charges == pay? (4, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39369983)

sco wasn't a _criminal_ case.

criminal cases ie. public prosecution vs. a private person with criminal charges, of course the state should pay when it loses. but the state didn't lose, it withdrew. like if coppers showed up at your house, intimidated you that they're going to take you to court for things xyz, then you go to a lawyer and ask if there's any merit and the lawyer says no and then the cops don't proceed further to do anything.

I guess it's in this case the state didn't pay because the prosecution dropped the case..? doesn't make much sense, but plausable.. if they withdrew and it never went to court then a judge didn't decide anything on the case, didn't find the prosecution to pay for damages/costs.. pretty fucked up though, he should sue the state.

shitty summary strikes again! (5, Informative)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370003)

the important bit from the actual article.
"Mr. Matheson has agreed to plead to a non-criminal code regulatory offense under the Customs Act of Canada. As a result of the agreement, Matheson will not stand trial. The defense of this case was waged by Michael Edelson and Solomon Friedman of Edelson Clifford D’Angelo LLP. The full Notices of Application detailing Edelson’s defense and outlining the outrageous and unlawful treatment Matheson endured are available here: Charter Notice and Jan 15 12 – Matheson Charter Notice."

Re:shitty summary strikes again! (5, Insightful)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370551)

the important bit from the actual article.

I beg to differ. The important bit from the actual article:

He was subjected to abusive treatment by police and a disruption in his life that included a two-year period during which he was unable to use computers or the internet outside of his job, severely limiting opportunities to advance his employment and education. ... Matheson was even told by police transporting him to prison that "if you get raped in here, it doesn't count!"

What a !@#$ing travesty, and for a comic book! Sue for malicious prosecution. They admitted their guilt when they dropped it. That it took them two years and $31,000.00 from two advocacy orgs PLUS, is even worse! Both those orgs and Ryan deserve to be compensated for this cluster!@#$.

And I don't even *get* Manga. Holy Kafkaesque, Batman! :-P

Re:Drop charges == pay? (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370123)

More like the cops kick your door in, break all your stuff and pile it up in the yard, rip your house down and then after finding nothing of interest "magnanimously" offer to not haul you off anyway and shoot your dog so long as you "agree" that they don't owe you any damages.

Re:Drop charges == pay? (5, Interesting)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370193)

How about if you drop charges you pay for the defense to date (and a reasonable compensation for any jail time or lost opportunities) but if you prosecute and fail you pay triple. Just to make sure there's no dirty dealing, if you manage through misconduct to get a conviction you shouldn't have, you get to do the time yourself.

Re:Drop charges == pay? (1)

YesDinosaursDidExist (1268920) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370713)

I don't know how the Canadian court system works. But, Yes - in Britain if you lose a case -- you pay the winning party's legal fees. In the US - at a federal level attorney fees can be awarded in Civil Rights Cases under the: Civil Rights Attorney's Fees Award Act of 1976. Additionally, in some civil cases you can request attorney fees be awarded to you...but that is usually only the case if the Court is also awarding punitive damages.

Be falsely accused, become poor (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39369849)

Legal systems aren't any fun to ever get involved with.

Re:Be falsely accused, become poor (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 2 years ago | (#39369999)

This could be the next Universal Health care. Universal law coverage. Except you kind of need medical help when you need it, since your body doesn't care if you have insurance. Being arrested and having to mount a costly legal deference could have been avoided by not arresting him for cartoons.

Re:Be falsely accused, become poor (3, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370593)

We actually have universal law coverage in the US, Canada, and other countries (at least for criminal charges). It's called a "court-appointed attorney", and it's generally the quality of legal care that you would get by going to a free clinic. It may be adequate if all you have is a throat infection or a laceration on your arm, but pretty much worthless for treatment of your pancreatic cancer.

Justice for those who can afford it. (5, Insightful)

Ultra64 (318705) | more than 2 years ago | (#39369851)

gee, only $45,000 in debt

Re:Justice for those who can afford it. (5, Insightful)

citab (1677284) | more than 2 years ago | (#39369877)

who says he could afford it? he didn't have a choice but to defend himself.

Re:Justice for those who can afford it. (5, Funny)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#39369913)

Don't you know that you are supposed to roll over when the government tells you to?

You must be a TERRORIST!

Re:Justice for those who can afford it. (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39369941)

I read Ultra64's post as sarcasm. If he couldn't get 45k in loans what would have happened? to get 45k in loans to pay for criminal charges you have to have assets that will cover that, since you can't guarantee future earnings will be able to make up for 45k.

Sure, in the grand scheme of things 45K isn't that much money, at least, it shouldn't be for someone in the US/canada that is a 'computer programmer'. Lots of programming students face that much in debt coming out of school. But if you don't have it, or can't borrow it what would he have done? Run out of money and ended up in jail having to give up his defence? That hardly seems fair.

Re:Justice for those who can afford it. (1)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370267)

Fair? Ha! This is the US "Justice" System we're talking about, fair has nothing to do with it!

Re:Justice for those who can afford it. (5, Funny)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370353)

Fair? Ha! This is the US "Justice" System we're talking about, fair has nothing to do with it!

Except that Canada technically isn't one of the United States. It's more like Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia.

Re:Justice for those who can afford it. (1)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370441)

Fair? Ha! This is the US "Justice" System we're talking about, fair has nothing to do with it!

Except that Canada technically isn't one of the United States. It's more like Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia.

Not that there's a difference, really.

Re:Justice for those who can afford it. (4, Informative)

Ultra64 (318705) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370527)

>I read Ultra64's post as sarcasm

Yeah, I thought it was incredibly obvious I was being sarcastic.

Re:Justice for those who can afford it. (4, Informative)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370189)

The actual cost of his defense was $75K. The other $30K was paid by the two legal defense funds.

The defendant's personal statement about the case is worth reading: rather chilling: http://cbldf.org/homepage/ryan-mathesons-personal-statement/ [cbldf.org]

Re:Justice for those who can afford it. (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370841)

The real deal-breaker here is that he made a plea bargain. Unfortunately, this is how he lost. I know first-hand how this can go. By making a plea, you are granting the prosecution a free pass on any treatment or unfairness you may experience in the process.

But I feel for the guy. He's young and likely scared. And after almost two years of this crap hanging over his head, misery, depression and paranoia are among the giant mess of emotions he was probably feeling.

Still, it's a lot of money and I would consult with an attorney about the wrongful arrest and try to get some backing by one or more professionals in the field of psychological medicine to support a case based on his pain and suffering he was subjected to over a very long period. And believe me, being charged with something false and having such things hanging over your head and over your future horizons is no small matter.

He should definitely sue. He will probably lose because a judge would not want to cripple his criminal justice system with a precedential ruling in favor of the former defendant, but there's a good chance they might settle with him to keep the profile on the issue down.

Re:Justice for those who can afford it. (1)

Ultra64 (318705) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370583)

I'm a bit confused by "-1, Troll"

"Anime and manga" (4, Informative)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 2 years ago | (#39369909)

From the press release: "Moreover, they should also be aware that although anime and manga is legal in many areas of the United States and Japan, etc., to possess and utilize..."

The hell? Makes it sound like all anime and manga have naked children in them. Also, Matheson didn't get off scot-free: "Mr. Matheson has agreed to plead to a non-criminal code regulatory offense under the Customs Act of Canada."

Re:"Anime and manga" (2)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 2 years ago | (#39369987)

The hell? Makes it sound like all anime and manga have naked children in them.

A lot of people think they do, or at least some sort of depravity. I've never heard a mainstream show reference Grave of the Fireflies etc. but at least one sitcom has referred to the more... notable... elements of Legend of the Overfiend when discussing "Japanese cartoons".

Re:"Anime and manga" (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370007)

So he was in debt, no real money for defense and the prosecutor got him to plead guilty to a lesser crime when it saw its case wouldn't hold up in the long run. sounds an awful lot like what happens here in the USA all the time. Lets face it the world doesn't work the way it should, I wish I knew what I could do about that.

Re:"Anime and manga" (1)

marnues (906739) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370183)

You may not believe me, but it works as well as it currently can. The exact same tactic is how Al Capone was finally put into prison. That it can be used against non-criminals in this way is abhorrent. Unfortunately no one has ever found a legal system that catches Al Capone but repays this guy for lost time, money, and prestige. And none of us have the ability to try something new. Your best bet is to find a place that wants your help, and give it your all. You may not be changing the world, but you can be changing _someones_ world.

Re:"Anime and manga" (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370805)

And, the way the justice system - at least in the US, not sure about Canada - was originally designed, the designers decided it was worth Al Capone running free, and he would eventually find himself staring down the barrel of one of his victim's firearms, taking care of the problem.

Re:"Anime and manga" (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370009)

"Mr. Matheson has agreed to plead to a non-criminal code regulatory offense under the Customs Act of Canada."

Hey look buddy, we know you're going to sue the pants off of us if we don't nail you with something, so our lawyers found this obscure section of the customs code that is really vague and could nail anyone, because heh, that's what it's there for, and anyway, yeah... you're guilty, and your sentence is, er, nothing. But the important thing here is that justice was served: Namely, We Got Our Man(tm). Er, sorry about ruining your life dude... sorta. Okay, not really. Heh heh, eh? Now if you'll excuse us, we have to go watch videos of ourselves beating the crap out of a bunch of illegal immigrants as part of some 'sensitivity training'. It's mandatory, and so the boss made it BYOB. Man this job sucks... they don't pay for the beer. My last law enforcement job paid for the beer... oh .. crap... is this thing still recording?

More importantly... (4, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370059)

People have been arrested in the US for the very same offense as the guy from TFA -- possession of illegal manga.

Re:"Anime and manga" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39370137)

Gee and heres me thinking Canada wasnt in the United States and had a seperarte legal system

Re:"Anime and manga" (5, Interesting)

Princeofcups (150855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370345)

The hell? Makes it sound like all anime and manga have naked children in them.

There's the mistake that everyone makes. The child pornography laws came about as a way to protect children from being exploited, i.e. abused, in the creation of said pornography. How this ever turned into "mind crime" is crazy. Now people accept that the possession of any representation, i.e. drawing, of an child, i.e. under the age of 18, in a sexual fashion is criminal. How did we ever get from one to the other?

Re:"Anime and manga" (3, Funny)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370517)

Why do you Hate The Children???

Why won't you THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!!

Re:"Anime and manga" (4, Interesting)

GmExtremacy (2579091) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370661)

Or, in this case, think of the imaginary children!

Re:"Anime and manga" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39370809)

But isn't "thinking of the children" exactly what we are trying to discourage (at least in child porn enforcement)?

F%%$%$% (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#39369931)

Now it is time for him to sue the Canadian government for "unlawful and wrongful" prosecution, or whatever the legal term is. I am ashamed. Sorry man, these guys are not representing me. They should be put in jail for waisting so many resources for going after an artist. Anyway, i wish you luck and keep fighting.

Re:F%%$%$% (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370381)

You can't do that if you already plead guilty to something. It's either wrongful prosecution or perjury.

Ten years ago (4, Insightful)

JazzHarper (745403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39369971)

I knew that it would be best to leave my laptop at home when entering Canada. Even the Canadian customs officer, who was very nice, said, "That was a wise decision".

Drawings != child porn (5, Insightful)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370047)

As distasteful as it may be in the case of images produced with the intent to be a form of child pornography, it sickens me to see artificially-produced images classified as child pornography. It opens the door to criminally penalizing people for something which must be judged based solely on opinion. There cannot be an objective judgment that an artificially-produced image constitutes "underage pornography," and criminal penalties should be based as closely on objectivity as possible.

These resources should be directed toward finding and jailing people who produce child pornography using actual children, not those who produce images which require (sometimes highly) subjective interpretation.

Re:Drawings != child porn (4, Funny)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370081)

Won't someone think of the drawn children?!

Re:Drawings != child porn (4, Insightful)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370395)

You could go to jail for that, it they are the wrong type of thoughts.

Re:Drawings != child porn (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370497)

Hey, corporations are people, so drawn children might be too.

Re:Drawings != child porn (2, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370111)

it sickens me to see artificially-produced images classified as child pornography

So you're a pedophile?

(That is the reaction I get when I say such things...)

Re:Drawings != child porn (-1, Troll)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370197)

Man, there is a free advise for you: Before saying anything stupid, first go, open the dictionary/treasure, check the meaning of the word, its history, its translation, its description, and then open your mouth.

Re:Drawings != child porn (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39370461)

Funny thing is there was a relatively large case related to that here in Sweden a few years ago. A known manga translator was busted after his ex ratted him out for his hentai (cartoon porn) collection so that she would get complete custody of their child. The case was appealed and basically half the pictures he were charged for were "cleared". It was pretty obvious from the court itself that they thought it was a ridiculous case but that they had to obey the law. He was fined.

Later on some radio station interviewed random people on the street. Everyone asked was like "lol, is THAT illegal?".

Several high profile people wrote about it and criticized the law and the decision.

The only people who made any noise about supporting the law were:
1: Online anti-porn feminists (the pro-porn feminists I know objected to the law)
2: The swedish minister of law (it's funny because she dropped out of law school)
3: The judge or prosecutor who started the case. Said something like "this is a high priority type of crime".

Even more curious was that even Madeleine Leijonhuvfud objected to the law and she's famous for being anti-pornography.

Re:Drawings != child porn (-1, Flamebait)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370119)

So are you suggesting that a masterfully done manga of a 4 year old being graphically raped by an older man is *not* child pornography? Or perhaps a 7 year old boy pleasuring an old man in all its pulp throbbiness?

Drawings can certainly be child porn, make no mistake about it. The question is where can the law draw the line.

Bad logic (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370165)

Child sex abuse imagery is illegal because producing it involves sexually abusing children, not because images of child abuse happen to offend most people. If no children are being abused, then what is the logic for making the cartoons illegal?

Re:Bad logic (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39370223)

While I strongly disagree with making it criminal, the most common logic I've heard is it will incite pedophiles to an action they wouldn't otherwise have taken.

Just like porn makes you go rape white women.

Re:Bad logic (1)

Imrik (148191) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370419)

The counterpoint being that without such material available the pedophiles will have to take actions they otherwise wouldn't have taken in order to get their release.

Re:Bad logic (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370717)

I think the concern is more that if people can explore those kinds of thoughts, they're less likely to seek treatment.

The pedophiles seeing a therapist about their thoughts for ways to control them aren't the ones that concern me. The ones spanking off to pictures of kids playing in the park are the ones who do. While the vast majority of them will probably never act on those feelings, some of them will.

While it's debatable whether a drawn picture should be made illegal, there is an understandable logic behind wanting it banned.

A better question is... why would you be stupid enough to cross an international border with something even remotely questionable on your laptop?

Re:Bad logic (1)

parlancex (1322105) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370837)

The even better counterpoint is that there are billions of easy obtainable and perfectly legal depictions of fictional murder / violence. If fictional pornography can incite people to commit sex acts I'd be more worried about the millions of movies and video games with people getting their heads blown off.

Re:Bad logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39370541)

The only problem with that argument is the complete lack of evidence supporting it.

Re:Bad logic (1, Insightful)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370579)

While I strongly disagree with making it criminal, the most common logic I've heard is it will incite pedophiles to an action they wouldn't otherwise have taken.

Just like porn makes you go rape white women.

Yeah, all that porn all around us makes people go stark raving mad raping everyone in sight...
While in fact the liberalization of porn in the 70s resulted in a significant reduction of the number of rapes in the US. For obvious reasons... jerking off regularly reduces testosterone levels. It probably also blunts your response. Remember when people got all excited about seeing a woman's knee? Well I guess nobody would because that was like 100 years ago.
So you could argue that giving pedophiles something to jerk off to might reduce sexual child abuse.

Re:Bad logic (1)

GmExtremacy (2579091) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370703)

And video games make you into a murderer!

So basically, they want to ban something because of the actions of a few, and without any evidence to support their ridiculous claims...

Might as well ban everything in existence.

Re:Bad logic (4, Insightful)

marnues (906739) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370231)

There is a significant portion of the US population that believes if objects of vice are removed, so go the vices themselves. Removing all kiddy porn real or fake will decrease child sex abuse. I find this completely specious, but it's so difficult to disprove that any attempts to argue otherwise seems to embolden these believers.

Re:Bad logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39370421)

Ironically, I'm pretty sure I've seen things saying the reverse, at least about porn availability vs. violent sexual crimes, which would probably carry over similarly in this case. Don't really feel like looking it up, but it's annoying how people think that if they ban everything it'll just go away.

Re:Bad logic (1)

GmExtremacy (2579091) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370719)

but it's so difficult to disprove

It's on them to prove it.

Not only that, but I don't think we should never ban something just because a few people could abuse it.

Re:Bad logic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39370659)

Child sex abuse imagery is illegal because...

You took that phrase "child sex abuse imagery" straight from the "child advocates" in Britain who have been pushing their neo-conservative agenda to censor the Internet.

Speeking of immoral and Conservative, you "betterunixthanunix" also have been demonizing people who give ADHD medication to children. Your Conservatism and extremist political agendas are noted.

Re:Drawings != child porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39370187)

> So are you suggesting that a masterfully done manga of a 4 year old being graphically raped by an older man is *not* child pornography?

It's horrendous, but no actual children were involved, so no. Clear line. Might run afoul of obscenity laws, but even then there it's a gray area as distribution goes.

Re:Drawings != child porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39370255)

The images may be pornographic, and they even be drawings of minors, but...since no actual children were abuse then I think we need to look to the Canadian Constitution and the Criminal Code of Canada to see what's illegal. As the Crown dropped the Criminal Code charges, I think their lawyers probably said it's probably not child porn as described by the act or the guiding principles of the act. Ergo, even if you think it's distasteful, the purpose in outlawing child pornography is because children cannot give consent and so it's harmful to them. Drawings....not so much.

So, what's left? The Constitution Act of 1982. Freedom of speech is protected but not hate speech (basically all constitutions done after WW2 have that worked in) so...to quote Voltaire, though I may disagree with what you say, I defend to the death your right to tentacle porn.

Re:Drawings != child porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39370291)

THINK OF THE FICTITIOUS, NON-EXISTENT, CARTOON CHILDREN!!

oh wait..

the line is clearly drawn between victim or no victim.

you can fantasize about all the little kids you want, draw all the pictures of naked little kids you want, write all the grossest fiction about naked little kids you want. it's all terribly disgusting, but it doesn't actually hurt anyone.

Re:Drawings != child porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39370297)

Oh, so that film where various people were killed was actual murders? Oh my, life = ruined.

No, just no. It isn't child pornography, it never was a child.
It is a fictional interpretation of a human.
It is as much child pornography as that person being stabbed in the back was murdered by Nicholas Cage. It. is. fictional.
It's like blaming games for unstable retards who go and shoot up a school.

Don't blame the media, blame the education system and medical system for not detecting potentially unstable minds which can lead to unstable psychological reactions to certain stimuli.
These things can be easily detected and corrected when people are young.

Child pornography is sexual acts of a real life person who is legally a child, period.
No, don't give me that "but certain pictures in certain poses" argument, every single person on the planet has unique turn-ons.
People get turned on by damn door-knobs for crying out loud! People can get turned on by someone simply sitting on a seat, just staring at them (the lens) normally.
Those stupid laws are entirely based on who is judging them. Opinions have no damn place in law as much as religion doesn't.
A completely innocent picture can be made sexual by any opinion out of the 7+ billion of us on this planet. That, for one, is an absolute fact.

Re:Drawings != child porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39370319)

How do you confirm the age of a drawing?

Equating drawings of imaginary characters with photographs of human beings is not only draconian; it's delusional.

Re:Drawings != child porn (5, Funny)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370425)

You: "I swear, that drawing of a girl is 18."

Officer: "She looks 17 to me, I'm bringing you in."

You: Draws sketch of girl holding up drivers license showing age 18.

Officer: "Well OK then, but I'm watching you."

Should drawings of killings be considered the same as murder?

Re:Drawings != child porn (3, Interesting)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370845)

You will occasionally see this done in commercial translations. In japan the character is 16. In the US translation, dialog is changed such that she's suddenly 18.

Re:Drawings != child porn (1)

Iniamyen (2440798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370691)

You are very ill-informed, as others have duly noted. Outlawing kiddie porn is about protecting kids. When you start outlawing representations of it that don't harm kids, however disgusting you may find them, you are outlawing free speech. Please think before you spew verbal diarrhea.

Re:Drawings != child porn (0)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370813)

The laws are there to protect children. This is true. What is not true is the assertion that no children are harmed in the making of these images. A graphic drawn image of CP may not be the direct result of an abused child, but it will add to the potential of a child being abused. Considering these images as legal only serves to "normalize" this mental illness and predatory behaviour. Anything which dierctly feeds the Pedophiles illness is in of itself dangerous.

If you consider me ill-informed, then so be it. I'd rather be uninformed than a pedophile apologist.

Re:Drawings != child porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39370141)

I suddenly find myself wondering if that stance (the one you oppose) could be extrapolated to arrest fans of Twilight for 'intent to commit necrophilia and/or bestiality.'

Re:Drawings != child porn (1)

Imrik (148191) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370437)

Don't forget statutory rape since she's a minor and the vampires are definitely more than 2 years older than her.

Re:Drawings != child porn (4, Informative)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370383)

As I understand it, the images he was arrested and charge over were not even of children. They were adolescent/young-adult characters who might have been of legal age or maybe not. This ambiguity is not uncommon in the work of Japanese artists, especially in light of the cultural taboo (I'm not sure if it's still illegal in Japan) against drawing pubic hair. The initial judgment that the drawings were "child pornography" was made by a supervisor who had not even seen them, let alone someone qualified to somehow make that judgment.

Re:Drawings != child porn (1)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370637)

Moreover, he claims that the characters in the drawings in question were actually fully clothed.

So pictures of clothed people not involved in sexual acts and not necessarily underage is now 'Child Porn'.

What a travesty. As a Canadian, this is an embarrassing story for our legal system.

Re:Drawings != child porn (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39370449)

This is true. Be careful drawing stick figures on napkins, make sure they are not too short...

Re:Drawings != child porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39370697)

The objectivity is the least part of the moral problem. The moral problem is that it's a crime to go into a closed room, draw a picture of a child, jack off to the picture, burn the picture of the child and then exit the room. There is no harm to anyone in that scenario, so of course it shouldn't be illegal even if there were an objective way to determine the age of a drawn person. Real child porn isn't that objective either, because there is no objective way to determine if a picture of a child is pornographic or not, and so it goes with most laws - they have to be interpreted subjectively by a judge in some corner cases. That's unfortunate, but there's really no alternative.

The real issue is that people actually want to banish/jail/castrate/murder pedophiles because of the sexual urges they involuntarily feel, even if they never act on those urges. That is the root of these laws - they are not about protecting imaginary children, they are about punishing people for having improper urges. It's like jailing someone for feeling like punching their boss, even if they never actually punch their boss. It's the distinction between liking money and robbing a bank, and failing to appreciate that distinction is just insane, yet apparently it is quite a common ailment when it comes to certain subjects.

Microfinancing (3, Informative)

marnues (906739) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370067)

Most importantly, donate to the CBDL to help pay the bills! http://cbldf.org/ [cbldf.org]

Re:Microfinancing (1)

marnues (906739) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370129)

Bah, meant to check that acronym...CBLDF...it's even in the url...

Re:Microfinancing (1)

GLMDesigns (2044134) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370153)

You're absolutely right. You don't have to send much. Imagine you met him in a bar and bought him a drink. Donate 5 dollars for free speach. $3 (if you drink PBR).

Re:Microfinancing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39370807)

Cheque sent.

Canadians can donate to the Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund: http://clldf.ca/ [clldf.ca]

Jezus (-1, Troll)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370099)

Not often a donator but donated 25 dollar. I was going to write a rather insulting post of Americans and Canadians in general but... there just isn't enough bile in the world. Improve the world, kill a Canadian. And don't moan about not all Canadians being like this, you voted for these turds and haven't voted them out.

Re:Jezus (1)

GLMDesigns (2044134) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370167)

Except for the people who voted against and were overruled.

Re:Jezus (1)

marnues (906739) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370253)

Also the people who don't like this outcome, but voted for these guys because they were better than the rest. Unfortunately we don't get to vote for our ideals, only the candidates on the ballot.

Re:Jezus (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370577)

Are you serious? Forget to take your meds today? Or do you need to cut down on the dosage?

That's some pretty radical bigotry you got going on there... you might want to talk to a shrink about it.

I'm serious. That's the same sort of mentality that causes genuinely serious atrocities to be committed. Get help, before you really hurt somebody.

Fined $45K for being innocent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39370109)

Fined $45K for being innocent is the effect of still owing $45K in legal costs for defending yourself. Screwing up your life for some comic book images really sounds a lot like the book 'Fahrenheit 451'. I didn't realize comic books aren't allowed in Canada. What do Canadian children read then?

Misleading headline (1)

Rix (54095) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370115)

He plead guilty, and in exchange the crown allowed a lesser charge.

Does /. really not understand the concept of a plea bargain?

Re:Misleading headline (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370259)

Yes, we are well aware of how a plea bargain is used as extortion to force people to accept a charge they are innocent of when they cannot afford a proper defense or are afraid of the kangaroo court. Often it's used as an excuse to not pay damages that are ethically owed to the defendant.

Re:Misleading headline (1)

Rix (54095) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370595)

He had quite a bit of money made available to him, so that's not an issue.

Further, Canada is a civilized country that provides a defence for all accused. I understand that Americans may find that novel.

Re:Misleading headline (1)

Meshach (578918) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370263)

Does /. really not understand the concept of a plea bargain?

Judging by the comments attached to this story I would say they do not.

Micro SD Card FTW (1)

madhi19 (1972884) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370151)

If I had shady or borderline shady data to more around over the border and this is not an admission of guilt I would likely just mail it to myself on a Micro SD card. Hell I know peoples who format their laptop and make a clean install before travelling.

Re:Micro SD Card FTW (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370285)

Ironically, that doesn't work if you are completely innocent in mind. That is, if you see nothing shady about the data.

Re:Micro SD Card FTW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39370313)

I can't wait until laptops are small enough to stick up the butt...

Re:Micro SD Card FTW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39370753)

Why wait?

Where's the victim of this cartoon porn? (4, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370155)

No crime committed.

Re:Where's the victim of this cartoon porn? (4, Insightful)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370453)

The victim? There are plenty.

1) This guy, who's now $45K in debt defending himself from fraudulent charges.
2) The customs officer, for having seen these drawings, is now scarred for life.
3) Us, for having to waste time and energy yet again to assert that drawn pictures is not illegal.

Re:Where's the victim of this cartoon porn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39370455)

No crime committed.

While i agree there is no victim and no crime committed in this case, it is also the case in regular child porn downloaded from the Internet, therefore your argument is invalid. A stance against thought crime would be more appropriate. Just be careful to not appear pro-pedophile.

Re:Where's the victim of this cartoon porn? (1)

GmExtremacy (2579091) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370773)

therefore your argument is invalid

Non sequitur. Why would his argument be invalid because of that?

In Canada, cartoons can be child porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39370523)

You have to realize that many states around the world, including Canada, have banned any depiction of "child-like" or "underage" (as determined by someone, like a judge or police) in drawing and books (ie. *written* content, no pictures or drawings) is considered child pornography. There is special exception for "historical contents", but that's it.

Japan has been deemed "capital of childporn" by people pushing these laws because Japan has stated that a cartoon does not constitute child porn (cartoon does not have "age").

While I believe children must not be abused and people creating and distributing and consuming real child porn should have the book thrown at them, these new laws are a stupid. Their aim is more like the laws under which Assange was charged - where women can scream "rape" for consensual sex.

Not sure there is much difference between Sharia morality laws in Saudi Arabia and many laws in the "free world". There is an old saying from USSR that seems to apply to the "free world" more and more these days (sorry if translation is wrong),

"Find me a man and I'll find you a paragraph to hang him with" (paragraph as in code of law)

A plus for lolicon (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370177)

Is that good for free speech or bad for...um...potential child rapees or something?

Picture vs illustration (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370325)

I'm confused on how a picture of a naked child is the same as the illustration of a naked child. Can they determine the age of the child exactly in the cartoon, if they can't then who says it can't be a 30 years old asian woman who looks young?

Re:Picture vs illustration (1)

DrLov3 (1025033) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370435)

Parent, I'm as confused as you are. I thought the whole evil thing behind child pornography is that a child was photographed naked and was not old enough to consent to that since he was not an adult.

But if some1 draws a child, I figured no one was harmed.

Border crossing (2)

soundguy (415780) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370409)

If you're crossing a border with ANYTHING on a laptop besides the operating system, you're just asking for trouble. If you need to work in multiple countries or just like to travel a lot, lease, colo, or home-base your own server and keep your stuff there. When you get to your destination, download and install an SCP client, then access the files you need. Download and install TrueCrypt, create an encrypted file, and use that to store local working copies of things as necessary. Download and install a non-factory web browser and use that to access your own secure web mail system.

Before going back across the border, save any work back to your remote server and delete the SCP client, browser, Truecrypt, and the encrypted file. If you're really paranoid, reinstall the OS from the rescue partition.

The secret to staying out of jail is pretty simple - don't be lazy, don't be stupid, don't poke the bear.

Has anyone looked at the image in question? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39370483)

I read through the documents filed by the lawyers, trying to understand what was confusing the border inspectors. I found it, buried in the document here: http://cbldf.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Charter-Notice.pdf

I'm not going to post the filename here.. you'll have to dig it out yourself. but I googled it.. and My jaw fell open in astonishment. They threw Matheson in jail for 5 days over this?

It's really time to have that TrueCrypt dual password system installed on all portable devices now. This is crazy.

Re:Has anyone looked at the image in question? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39370643)

buried = p. 15, near bottom.

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