Remember last month when I told you to "Be Careful When Traveling to Canada" with your yaoi? Yeah, I wasn't kidding. A mere month later and we now have a manga fan who was arrested and is facing "a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in prison for comics brought into the country on his laptop." Yes, on his laptop! I seem to remember a lot of comments saying they never got searched. What's worse? The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has issued this statement regarding the matter: Continue reading »
Digital Manga Publishing has been continuing their push into digital publishing and I have a few updates to share with you. First let's start with their digital site eManga.com. You can now purchase and own your digital books instead of merely renting them like before. Now when you make a purchase it will stay in your reading list forever (or at least until the Rapture)!
Continue reading »
As if we don't have enough to worry about lately, it has come to my attention a few days ago that the Canadian customs agents have been cracking down hard on comic materials coming over the border (this could be anything driven, flown or delivered into Canada except by U.S. mail, which apparently has stricter standards when it comes to "reasonable suspicion" and requires a warrant. Not so for private carriers like UPS and FedEx, which can be searched must easier.). This is not a yaoi specific issue, which actually makes it all the scarier since it covers such a broad scope of reading material. Here are three really good articles concerning the recent issue at TCAF (Toronto Comics Art Festival).
The last article points to past history of Canada's customs agents seizing materials and I want to point out these two links as they are very important. The first goes back to 2007 when customs agents seized gay comics from a French publisher that was shipping them to a Montreal book store. The second article is far more concerning as it pertains to manga. If everything this person says is true including the fact that he was detained because the title of one of his manga had the word 'boy' in it, I would be petrified to bring any yaoi materials over the border. Now this article is from 2006 but I haven't read anything saying they've become more lenient since then. Either way, it provides an excellent history of censorship in Canada.
"In one recent incident, an individual was detained at the U.S.-Canada border while en route to an anime/manga convention. He was handcuffed and held briefly on charges of child pornography, and his materials seized."
"Customs agents also may search for information stored on electronic devices, including cameras, laptop computers, cell phones or other storage devices, or on electronic media, such as flash drives or DVDs. Such searches may be conducted at random, with or without reasonable suspicion, and are becoming increasingly common. According to information revealed pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the ACLU, over 6,500 people traveling to and from the United States between October 2008 and June 2010 had their electronic devices searched at the border. Nearly half of those searched were U.S. citizens."
"Customs agents frequently use an overly broad and inaccurate definition of “child pornography” in order to justify intrusive searches of materials that are fully protected by the United States Constitution."
"…CBLDF has gotten reports that travelers have been detained and their computers and expressive materials seized after customs agents found comic art that contained no depictions of actual children and no representations of sexual activity. Any photographic or artistic rendering that depicts nudity may heighten the risk of a search, even if the depiction has nothing to do with child pornography."
Page 8 and 9 give suggestions for avoiding intrusive border searches. I recommend anyone traveling to Canada to give that a thorough read to avoid any issues in the future.
The past few days have been a whirlwind of posts, letters to editors, emails to KINDLE and many a forum discussion. It's been exhausting for all of us but here's what's come out of it so far. Bigger sites have picked up the story including After Elton
, Publishers Weekly
, Anime News Network
, and Robot 6
. There has been some great discussion out there and I recommend checking them out if you haven't already.
I've done my best to compile a list of books that have been removed based on scouring Amazon's site, publisher sites, publisher announcements of titles removed and also what some of you have been so nice to point out. As of right now, here is a list of the eBooks that have been removed and/or altered. Please feel free to add to the list in comments or point out any mistakes on the list:
To further show Amazon that we mean business, I thought I would post alternatives for digital reading that doesn't require a KINDLE or even an eReader to enjoy.
Barnes & Noble has the NOOK and currently boasts of approximately 149 yaoi titles based on a search for the word "yaoi" on their NOOK site. The best thing is that you do not need to own a NOOK in order to read these titles. B&N offers free apps for your PC desktop, your Mac desktop, your iPad, your iPhone, your Blackberry and for Android.
Digital Manga also has their site eManga with all of their titles listed as well as fan favorites like Starfighter and Teahouse. It also currently has BLUMANGA titles but only until May 20th. If you have an eReader that supports ePub, Mobi or PDF files, you can find a growing selection of Digital Manga's titles over at tlagay.com as well. Borders sells their eReader, the Kobo, for as low as $99 and it supports both ePub and PDF files. They also provide free apps for your PC desktop, Mac desktop, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry and Android. A Google search of eReaders shows a wide range of devices as well as low prices. Just make sure to pay attention to what file types they support!
As you can see, there are PLENTY of other ways to enjoy your digital content without having to resort to supporting the KINDLE and Amazon's restrictive content guidelines and censorship. Let's show Amazon and KINDLE we mean business!
I think we need to band together as yaoi fans and tell Amazon we are not happy with the censorship of our beloved yaoi titles, whatever their reasoning may be. I myself am a KINDLE user and at no point in time would I have purchased a KINDLE had I realized they would start censoring titles and CONTINUE to censor titles depending on their current whims. Please do your part by going to this link for KINDLE customer service, select "Questions about KINDLE books, subscription, or other content" as your issue (not "Problems with…" as that may go to an I.T. type person) and state your displeasure with their ever changing policies about acceptable content. You can also send a direct email to email@example.com.
Please spread the word! (Twitter, Facebook, forums…) If you do get a response, please post it in comments for all to see so we can prove whether or not they are taking us seriously. Thank you!
EDIT: Here is a post that was started by someone else on the KINDLE forums. As you can see, they are already misunderstanding what yaoi really is. Feel free to add your 2 cents worth so other KINDLE users understand what the real issue is.