News:Eurofurence 13 bans Softpaw
Eurofurence chair Cheetah has announced a ban on the sale or distribution of the erotic cub publication Softpaw Magazine at this September's convention. The announcement came just an hour after Portugese comic book artist and Softpaw contributor Dktorzi announced his intent to act as a dealer of the magazine. German furry artist Inuki was given a similar message.
Cheetah noted that the decision was based on four factors: the legal "gray area" surrounding cub pornography in Germany, the "rather diastrous[sic] conflicts within the fandom" (a reference to incidents at Fur Affinity and elsewhere), the board's wish to maintain a good reputation with the hotel and its staff, and a pre-existing ban on cub pornography in the art show. He stated that the board's decision "is final, and we will not discuss it."
Immediate reactions to the ban were mixed. Many said they understood the board's wish to avoid problems, especially with the hotel. However, certain assertions, such as the legal status of the comic, and the claim that the magazine "only appeals to a small fringe group of the fandom", were disputed. The claims of popularity may have merit, as serial comic uploader Sibe claims that illicit copies of its second issue were "widly[sic] requested."
Softpaw has been sold through dealers at several US conventions, including Further Confusion, FA: United, Califur and Anthrocon, despite the latter event's prohibition against such work in the art show. Magazine co-founder and co-editor Jery Softpaw reported grossing over $4000 at Anthrocon 2007, suggesting that at least 200 copies of Softpaw were sold.
The topic of child pornography has had significant coverage in the German news media, following reports in May of child-sized human avatars in Second Life providing both virtual ageplay and real-life pornography. Distribution of pornographic depictions of "violence, ... sexual abuse of children or sexual acts of human beings with animals" is punishable with up to three years of jail in Germany, or up to five if sexual abuse is involved. Under German law, a child is defined as "a person under fourteen years of age."
Eurofurence is the world's longest-running furry convention, after the now-defunct ConFurence. It was founded in Germany in May 1995, and has been held annually in Europe since then. Last year's event, held at Nuremberg Castle, hosted 405 furry fans. This year, at least 600 have pre-registered.
|Willingly letting you sell this magazine could send us to jail, and even if the possibility is small it's a risk we do not want to take. ... Sometimes you just can't afford to risk the fun of 600 people being ruined by the kink of a handfull ... or not by the kink itself, but by how it is perceived by our hosts and our attendees. -- Cheetah|
|We had a lengthy discussion with German customs (border and import control) about our mag. They know what's in it, they looked right through it, and then sent us on our way with it. No problems. ... Cub art has been drawn, displayed and sold at all major cons since they all started. It's not new and Softpaw is just the most public and organised display of it so far. -- Jery Softpaw|
|Getting discriminated in my own country sucks like hell ... EF is great anyway and I will be there but its just a side of the con I wish I had never discover[sic] -.-; -- Inuki|
- Mature cub fanzine readies second issue (May 28, 2007)
- Softpaw Magasine Dealer.[sic] - Eurofurence forums (August 23, 2007)
- EF banned Softpaw MAgasine from the dealers Room.[sic] - Dktorzi's Journal (August 23, 2007)
- No Softpaw magz for Eurofurence :/ - Inuki's Journal (August 23, 2007)
- Softpaw MAgasine Banned from EuroFurence.[sic] - Jkal et. al., Softpaw forums
- Softpaws Magazine 2 - Sibe's GreatestJournal
- Anthrocon 2007 Artists Packet - PeterCat (April 7, 2007)
- Anthrocon 2007 report by Jery - Jery Softpaw, Softpaw Magazine forums (July 12, 2007)
- Germany investigates Second Life child pornography - Kate Connolly, The Guardian (May 8, 2007)
- Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch, StGB) - Section 184: Dissemination of Pornographic Writings
- Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch, StGB) - Section 176: Sexual Abuse of Children
- HAH! - Cheetah's LiveJournal (August 14, 2007)
The main author of this story has made an interest-free loan to a member of Softpaw Publishing. This loan is being repaid on schedule, and is not contingent on sales of Softpaw Magazine.