We may have had to close down the epic thread about you-know-what, but so may opinions were flying fast and furious, that CBLDF head Charles Brownstein felt compelled to issue the following clarifying statement:
There seems to be some confusion about the CBLDF’s position on the Ellison/Groth dispute. The CBLDF’s charter mandates that our funds are to be spent defending cases directly involving works of comics, as we are doing in the case of Georgia v. Gordon Lee, and as we have done in every case we have directly funded. While it is indisputable that Fantagraphics publishes some of the best comics in the field, the material at issue in the suit is not comics, but journalistic prose. The Board of Directors determined that, in adherence with our charter, offering monetary support from our limited resources to defend this case would be inappropriate.
This decision was not arrived at casually, as the questions involved are central to our charter and the expectations of our supporters. We solicit money from our contributors with the understanding that the money they contribute is for the defense of comics, and the Board does not feel at liberty to use our funds for other purposes. This isn’t the first time that we have turned down a case for these reasons, and it is unlikely to be the last, but you won’t hear about it, because the Fund is not in the business of publicizing the cases that we turn down.
It’s been pointed out that the Fund has participated in Right of Publicity matters in the past by taking part in amicus briefs. These “Friend of the Court ” documents are an avenue of non-monetary support that the Fund has used in cases where an outcome could create a harmful precedent for the comics field. Amicus briefs are typically drafted at a case’s appeal stage. Should such a document become necessary at a later stage of this case, the Fund would certainly consider participating.
We’re saddened that this case is causing so much tension in the comics community. Both Gary and Harlan have performed valuable work for the CBLDF, and for free expression at large, and that work is something that we hold in the highest esteem. It is our sincere hope that they are able to arrive at a satisfactory resolution of this dispute without further litigation.