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Oregon Laws to Limit Adult Content from Minors Rejected

posted on by Gia Manry
Court cites Berserk manga among titles unconstitutionally affected by overly broad laws

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which represents the western region of the country, has struck down two Oregon laws on the furnishing of obscenity to minors on Monday. The first, Oregon Revised Statute 167.054, criminalizes the giving of obscene materials to minors. The second, Oregon Revised Statute 167.057, further criminalizes the "luring" of minors with sexually explicit materials.

According to the decision issued by the court and posted by the Media Coalition, the laws were overly broad and could criminalize the furnishing of materials with some adult content that may otherwise have redeeming value. The Portland-based Powell's bookstore chain and online retailer provided numerous examples of these materials, among which was Kentaro Miura's manga Berserk. According to the court's decision, Berserk features a "fantastical sex scene between Charlotte and Lord Griffin" but would not "count as hardcore pornography."

Berserk's North American publisher, Dark Horse Comics, was also a plaintiff in the case; the company is based in Milwaukie, Oregon. Dark Horse Comics and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund issued a joint statement applauding the decision.

These laws are separate from and unrelated to the federal PROTECT Act of 2003, which includes a provision criminalizing the possession of "obscene" materials that feature minors conducting sexual acts. It was under this provision that American manga fan Christopher Handley was charged in 2007. He pleaded guilty in May of 2009, and he was sentenced to six months in prison this past February.

Image © Kentarou Miura / Hakusensha

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