President Obama Signs Crush Video Ban Law

December 13, 2010 -

President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill that outlaws the creation and distribution of so-called animal crush videos, a response to an April 20 Supreme Court decision (United States v. Stevens) that struck down an earlier federal law that banned a more broadly defined description of animal cruelty. The court was concerned that the law could be applied to hunting and fishing videos. The new law specifically addresses creating and distributing videos and ties it to obscenity - saying that these kinds of videos - involving burning, crushing and mutilating animals appeal to a particular sexual fetish. Why would the law say that? To tie the act to obscenity and make it an exception to the first amendment.

"This [new] law protects both animals and free speech by focusing specifically on crush videos, which clearly have no place in our society,” said Randall Lockwood of ASPCA.

Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the United States said, "We are thankful that countless animals will now be spared from intentional torture for sick entertainment and profit."

Why is this important to gamers? Because of the way the law was written to describe the videos as obscene and of a sexual nature. Lawmakers are getting savvy in the way they try to remove the first amendment protection of certain types of "free speech." Getting an exception seems to be the new way for these laws. Will this work for this federal law? We may have a clearer definition of what is obscene after the court rules on Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association, in which lawyers for California asked the court to treat violent video games like obscenity as they relate to minors.

Source: LAW.com


Comments

Re: President Obama Signs Crush Video Ban Law

Worst of all, this shows where Obama stands on digital media and the First Amendment. SCOTUS is still undecisive.

We are so screwed.

Re: President Obama Signs Crush Video Ban Law

As much as I dislike this law, I would not pin this on Obama...

Keep in mind, the president executes the laws, not writes them... vetos are rather rare events.

Re: President Obama Signs Crush Video Ban Law

I thought the SCOTUS said that it wasn't banned? Does this mean if video games are seen as free speech in the SCOTUS case they could still be outlawed in the future?

Re: President Obama Signs Crush Video Ban Law

It depends on specificly how SCOTUS rules.

In this case, SCOTUS struck down the law because they said it was too broad and could apply to good wholesome activities and not just those perverted sexual ones.  So the law had to be rewriten to only apply when sex is involved, but videos of killing and torturing anaimals are still ok as long as no one is naked.

Re: President Obama Signs Crush Video Ban Law

The Supreme Court found that the prior bill in its language was too broad and that it could censor videos that were not depicting cruelty to animals and thus was not Constitutional. They left the ruling open to allow for a more strictly defined law.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: President Obama Signs Crush Video Ban Law

"We are thankful that countless animals will now be spared from intentional torture for sick entertainment and profit."

Uh, no they won't.

 

Don't existing animal cruelty laws already cover this sort of activity anyway?

Re: President Obama Signs Crush Video Ban Law

Yep, the activities are already illegal,.. this law, just like the kiddy porn ones, makes not only the crime illegal but videos of the crime illegal too.  It falls under the whole theory of 'more crimes will be committed if a demand for videos exists' idea.. which for some strange reason doesn't seem to apply to other crimes.

Last I checked, rape and snuff videos are still legal, but incredibly stupid to make since they provide admissible evidence that you committed a crime... (while snuff videos are urban legend, people HAVE video taped rapes before, and surprise surprise, they always come back to haunt the person).

For these general reasons... while I hate HATE HATE crush videos... this law makes me very uncomfortable and I think it continues a very bad precedent.

Re: President Obama Signs Crush Video Ban Law

so next time someone does the actual crime and a video is submitted as evidence, they can claim to have only used props and admit to only owning the video of it and get a lesser sentence? I'm confused

岩「if Phyllis Schlafly wants to undo Women's Rights, she should lead by example and get back in the kitchen」

岩「…I can see why Hasselbeck's worried about fake guns killing fake people. afterall, she's a fake journalist on a fake news channel」

Re: President Obama Signs Crush Video Ban Law

Is this not going against a ruling by the Supreme Court?  

Obviously, I' m not in favor of "crushing" or their videos, but seeing a politician making a bill that bans videos based exclusively on one type of content he doesn't approve of is unnerving.  Admittedly, this may not be too different from child pornography laws.  

However, seeing a new law signed like this begs the question: what if a president signs a similar law targeting videos of political protests?  It's a slippery slope.  And one without a clear-cut "correct" answer.

Re: President Obama Signs Crush Video Ban Law

Well, this loophole only applies to speech involving sex... so unless the political protests are naughty in some way the same legal technique could not easily be applied unless they bring back the Sedition act or something.

Re: President Obama Signs Crush Video Ban Law

It is not really going against the ruling. The ruling stated that the previous law in its language was unconstitutional. It did not bar congress from passing laws that are more strictly defined.

The Job of the Supreme court is to weigh current law and determine if it is constitutional. They are not given the power to create preemtively block future legislation except if that legislation is written in the same language as previously ruled on laws.

Of course this does not block Congress or the President from using prior Supreme Court rulings from writing and passing new laws with the goal of creating laws that are Constitutional. Which is what they are currently attempting.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

 
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