Thanks to the efforts of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and others, last week brought good news for comics fans, ethical pervs and free speech partisans. Canadian Court Drops Criminal Charges in Manga Customs Case.
Ryan Matheson faced criminal child porn charges after Canadian customs agents searched his computer. Comic Book Resources explains:
Upon going through the files, the customs officer found an image that was described in the court papers as “a collage of 48 discrete animated images which portray ‘persons’ involved in sexual acts.” This image is actually a moe-style parody of a classical Japanese woodblock print titled Shijūhatte, which roughly translates to “the 48 positions,” and is in turn based on a print of the 48 wrestling positions. Moe is a Japanese style of super-cute, childlike figures. While the illustration does show these figures having sex, there is very little detail.
The linked page at Sankaku Complex includes the original wrestling print, the classic Shijūhatte print and the moe-style Shijūhatte which Canadian border agents found obscene. If you google “moe Shijūhatte”, you’ll find the image at dozens of other sites.
The settlement after two years allows Matheson to avoid a criminal record and sex offender status.