Has the CCA Been Defunct Since 2009?
In a bit of a twist, the First Amendment champion Comic Book Legal Defense Fund now has the intellecutal property rights to the Seal of the Comics Code Authority, the symbol of self-censorship for the entire comic book industry.As Newsarama revealed back in January, the Comics Code Authority has been functionally gone since 2009. This year, DC Comics and Archie Comics both officially dropped the seal in favor of their own ratings systems, placing the last two nails in the coffin of the Code. The code was originally used from the 1950s through the 1990s, mainly in support of newsstand sales, where, unlike comic book specialty shops, no experts of the medium were around to filter out comics inappropriate for kids. However in recent years, comic book companies did not even have to submit their books to run the seal, they merely had to pay dues. With this new ownership of the Seal, CBLDF will make money from merchandise carrying it, including t-shirts and other products. They'll be using the symbol of censorship to support their First Amendment defense work. The full press release follows. Press Release The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund today announces that it has received the intellectual property rights to the Comics Code Authority Seal of Approval in an assignment from the now-defunct Comic Magazine Association of America, which administrated the Code since the 1950s. The Comics Code Seal comes to the CBLDF during Banned Books Week, a national celebration of the freedom to read, and just a few months following a decision in the U.S. Supreme Court where Justice Scalia cited CBLDF’s brief addressing the comics industry’s history of government scrutiny and the subsequent self-regulation the Comics Code represented. Dr. Amy Nyberg, author of Seal of Approval: The History of Comics Code has prepared a short history of the Comics Code Seal and the era of censorship it represents exclusively for CBLDF that is available now in the Resources section of cbldf.org. CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein says, “As we reflect upon the challenges facing intellectual freedom during Banned Books Week, the Comics Code Seal is a reminder that it’s possible for an entire creative field to have those rights curtailed because of government, public, and market pressures. Fortunately, today comics are no longer constrained as they were in the days of the Code, but that’s not something we can take for granted. Banned Books Week reminds us that challenges to free speech still occur, and we must always be vigilant in fighting them.” The CBLDF will take over licensing of products bearing the Comics Code Seal, including t-shirts, providing a modest source of income for the organization’s First Amendment legal work. Graphitti Designs is currently offering t-shirts with the Code Seal to benefit CBLDF. Brownstein adds “It’s a progressive change that the Comics Code seal, which is yesterday’s symbol of comics censorship, will now be used to raise money to protect the First Amendment challenges comics face in the future. That goal probably would have been unimaginable to the Code’s founders, who were part of a generation of comics professionals that were fleeing a witch-hunt that nearly trampled comics and any notion that they deserved any First Amendment protection.” The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a 501c3 not for profit organization dedicated to protecting the First Amendment rights of the comics field. It is currently in the midst of Be Counted, a member drive aiming to raise $100,000 for urgently needed First Amendment legal and education work. To learn more about the CBLDF and to support its efforts, please visit www.cbldf.org Related Stories
- DC Replaces Code Approval with Own Ratings System
- Archie Dropping Comics Code Seal in February
- The Comics Code Authority - Defunct since 2009?
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