As co-counsel for Jello Biafra in the recent "Frankenchrist" album case and a primary author of what City Atty. James Hahn has characterized as a "web of distortion," I must take exception to his letter (Sept. 29).
First, Hahn's cavalier dismissal of the idea that this case concerns "artistic endeavor" is nothing more than his opinion. The facts demand a different conclusion. I can assure Hahn and Times readers that, to the Academy-Award winning artist who created the painting (H.R. Giger), to every art editor who has included the painting in a book (and there are several), and to every museum and gallery which has exhibited the painting (and there are many), the work is a legitimate artistic endeavor and the prosecution of anyone for distributing a copy of this painting necessarily affects this artistic endeavor.
Second, this is and was a case with grave implications for the First Amendment. I can tell Hahn that Giger's representatives in this country, art school deans and professors who had learned about the case, were all incredulous when they heard about the charges. To them the case had blatant adverse implications for the First Amendment rights of artists in general, and in particular posed a threat to the future distribution of Giger's work. They understood that Giger had not been prosecuted, but they also understood that five people had been prosecuted for distributing Giger's work.