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.