Freedom Of Speech Balloons

pubThis pub could change the very nature of British laws over the legality of certain comic books.

The Criminal Justice & Immigration Act 2008 came in to effect in January 2009, and Section 49 of the Coroners and Justice Bill is currently being reviewed. Both of these Acts could impact on the creation of comic books and how they are sold, and could land creators, retailers and readers in jail or placed on the sex offenders register.

Ostensibly to close loopholes around the creation, sale and distribution of child pornography, where images are turned into illustrations, the British legal system has the reputation of taking an enacted law and finding all sorts of ways to use it. Famously Prime Minister Gordon Brown seized Icelandic assets after the collapse of a number of Icelandic financial institutions that had marketed themselves to British companies and consumers, under anti terrorist legislation.

Unlike the USA, Britain has no equivalent right to free speech. And there have been many occasions in the last few decades of Customs & Excise exceeding their powers and seizing copies of comics such as From Hell, usually followed by long and expensive court cases. And he CBDLF doesn't cover UK cases.

There are a number of books that may fall under this legislation, from the likes of League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen to Strangers In Paradise to Groo The Wanderer.

The Cartoon County meeting this Monday in Brighton, is intended to rally the cause. V For Vendetta artist David Lloyd and comics expert Tim Pilcher are leading the front, but you can expect a number of high profile names in attendance. There are initial plans for a petition to Parliament to change the wording of the act to elimite illustrators, but who knows where it could lead?

Say, do you reckon we could hire those Fathers4Justice fellows?

For those interested, meet upstairs at The Cricketers, Black Lion St, Brighhton, close to the railway station at 6pm, but this matter will be discussed from 7.30pm onwards.

And you just know who else might be there…

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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