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Court voids law aimed at animal cruelty videos

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posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 10:42 AM
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Court voids law aimed at animal cruelty videos


news.yahoo.com

The Supreme Court struck down a federal law Tuesday aimed at banning videos that show graphic violence against animals, saying it violates the right to free speech.

The justices, voting 8-1, threw out the criminal conviction of Robert Stevens of Pittsville, Va., who was sentenced to three years in prison for videos he made about pit bull fights.
(visit the link for the full news article)


Related News Links:
www.google.com
www.washingtonpost.com




posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 10:42 AM
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I'm a bit confused here... Cruelty to animals is against the law, you can go to jail for it. But filming cruelty to animals, now that's just fine. You can film animals being harmed all day long and it's freedom of speech. Really??

What kind of twisted logic takes you from cruelty to animals is bad to filming cruelty to animals is ok? What's the difference? The filmer is just as responsible as the one harming the animals if you ask me. I find it rather disgusting that the Supreme Court would say that kind of sick behavior is protected by free speech.

news.yahoo.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 10:44 AM
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Hmm. So by their logic, kiddie fiddling is illegal but filming kiddie porn should be an expression of free speech.

Disgusting.



posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 11:00 AM
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I was thinking more along the lines of murder is illegal, but snuff films should be protected by free speech now too. After all, it's just artistic expression right?



posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 11:07 AM
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Originally posted by Jenna
You can film animals being harmed all day long and it's freedom of speech. Really??


What if it's a video to promote awareness of animal cruelty?

Like the below



posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 11:13 AM
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reply to post by ModernAcademia
 


If someone's taping an animal getting treated cruelly and does nothing to stop it, they are just as responsible as the one who does it. Obviously sneaking a camera in somewhere to get proof of animal cruelty to get it stopped is a far sight different than standing around taping small animals getting stepped on or taping dog fights. The latter is in no way a form of creativity, it's just the result of a sick mind and shouldn't be protected by free speech.



posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 11:16 AM
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reply to post by ModernAcademia
 


Hmm. Good point. Videos like that are the reason I turned vegan
But then, if that is animal cruelty, then why aren't these companies being prosecuted? Is the non-action by the law on these companies the equivalent of saying that what is happening ISN'T cruelty? Which raises the question - what IS classified as acceptable and what is not accepted as cruelty? I mean, in a legal sense, rather than the obvious, blind Freddy sense.



posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 11:16 AM
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I see. So by the argument that everyone here is making, it should be illegal to make documentary film about any illegal activity ? So , it would be illegal to do a documentary about rascism, illegal dumping of toxic waste, dogfighting, cockfighting, prostitution, government corruption just because SHOWING the grimey reality of life is illegal? How weak a position is that ?!



posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 11:25 AM
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reply to post by TrueBrit
 


Filming animals or children being mistreated for "fun" and or gratification is abuse and exploitation. In both cases it is an act of abuse to an individual or being that cannot stand up for itself, which to me, is one of the lowest things anyone can do. Getting your jollies off watching someone or something suffer is NOT an expression of free speech, it's just... not "right" and I think the person watching or filming needs to get some psychological help before it escalates.



posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 11:25 AM
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Originally posted by TrueBrit
So , it would be illegal to do a documentary about rascism, illegal dumping of toxic waste, dogfighting, cockfighting, prostitution, government corruption just because SHOWING the grimey reality of life is illegal?


Interesting how you throw political stuff into the mix when this Supreme Court decision is about animal cruelty videos.

These are not documentaries. These are videos people make to sell as entertainment or to fulfill someone else's twisted sexual perversions and they harm an animal to do it. They're snuff films, but made with animals as the victims instead of people.



posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 11:55 AM
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Originally posted by Jenna
If someone's taping an animal getting treated cruelly and does nothing to stop it, they are just as responsible as the one who does it.

Maybe morally but not legally
that's another topic


Originally posted by Jenna
Obviously sneaking a camera in somewhere to get proof of animal cruelty to get it stopped is a far sight different than standing around taping small animals getting stepped on or taping dog fights. The latter is in no way a form of creativity, it's just the result of a sick mind and shouldn't be protected by free speech.


Ya but how do you draw the line?

Bureaucracy doesn't make it as simple as you put it.
So how do you draw the line?

Forget morally, how do you do it legally?



posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 12:28 PM
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Originally posted by ModernAcademia
Maybe morally but not legally
that's another topic


Legally they could, and should in my opinion, be charged with aiding and abetting, being an accessory to a crime, conspiracy to commit a crime, etc. It's not just a moral issue, which is why I'm dumbfounded at the Supreme Courts decision in this case.


Ya but how do you draw the line?

Bureaucracy doesn't make it as simple as you put it.
So how do you draw the line?

Forget morally, how do you do it legally?


What do you mean how do I draw the line? The line has already been drawn. Animal cruelty is a felony in 46 states, it is defined as the intentional infliction of harm and/or suffering on an animal. In the case of these films they are intentionally inflicting harm and suffering on an animal for the purpose of entertainment. Not documenting the existence of it to be used as evidence, not documenting it to be used in anti-abuse videos, purely for entertainment because apparently watching a small animal get squished to death or two animals trying to eat each other is entertaining.

If these were snuff videos, do you think the Supreme Court would say they are protected under free speech? Those videos are taped purely for the entertainment value of watching someone else get murdered because apparently murder is entertaining. These videos are no different other than what the victim looks like.

I'm not one to go all PETA about anything animal related, but come on. If animal cruelty is a felony in the majority of the country, how are you going to make standing there taping it for entertainment something protected by free speech? A crime is committed in the making of those videos and are the sole reason those videos exist. This Supreme Court decision makes a mockery of the first amendment and of our legal system.



posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 12:42 PM
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reply to post by SerialLurker
 


Ok , I see the problem.



posted on Apr, 21 2010 @ 12:16 AM
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reply to post by Jenna
 


I heard this on the news. It is very disturbing and I don't understand it at all. Why?



posted on Apr, 21 2010 @ 12:24 AM
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Good news for PETA i guess. I do not know anysite that has more cruelty to animals videos than those guys.



posted on Apr, 21 2010 @ 12:29 AM
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i have always thought it was weird that in america musicians and movies can talk about and be shown using drugs, but if civilians do it it is against the law. It gets even sicker when you consider the CIA Contra stuff.



posted on Apr, 21 2010 @ 12:31 AM
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Hmm, it might actually be a good thing that certain people are filming violence against animals. It would be evidence against whoever is doing the harm and evidence of whoever is filming, of their involvement.

If the person isn't intending to use the footage to bring people to justice, then that's just evidence that they were involved too. Maybe there should be a law for that or something lol.

I suppose it could be said then that anyone can make the excuse that they were intending to use the footage to bring people to justice just so they wouldn't get prosecuted, but then they'd be in trouble with the people who were doing the crime. Especially for bringing attention to what they were doing.

So yeah, I don't know. I love animals and if I saw anyone abusing an animal I'd really want to bring them to justice. But this is just what I was thinking lol
don't know if it would actually work.



posted on Apr, 21 2010 @ 12:39 AM
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reply to post by Sparkly_Eyed777
 


That's a very good point that was brought up on another site I visit. They believed that the illegalisation of animal cruelty films would be a blow to animal rights as it's no longer legal to show people how badly animals are being treated.



posted on Apr, 21 2010 @ 09:54 AM
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Originally posted by Jenna

What kind of twisted logic takes you from cruelty to animals is bad to filming cruelty to animals is ok? What's the difference? news.yahoo.com
(visit the link for the full news article)


Here is a superb sumamry of the arguments for and against that were deliberated in October.

If you genuinely have an interest in this story...listen to this summary of the justices debating back in October 09..it's brief.

www.npr.org...

Some highlights:


Chief Justice John Roberts bore in on those exemptions as evidence that prosecutions would depend on the views of the speaker.

How can you tell these aren't political videos, he asked? You have organizations like PETA that use these videos to generate support for their efforts to ban certain conduct. Why, he asked, couldn't Mr. Stevens' videos be seen as an effort to legalize the same conduct?

Justice Sotomayor: What's the difference between this video and David Roma's documentary expose about pit bulls and dogfighting? That footage, she observed, was far more gruesome.

Answer: The line will sometimes be difficult to draw, just as it is in child pornography.

Justice Scalia: Child pornography is obscenity as far as I'm concerned, traditionally not covered by the First Amendment. This is something quite different. What if I'm an aficionado of bullfights? And I think they ennoble both beast and man. And I want to persuade people that we should have them? I would not be able to market videos showing people how exciting a bullfight is.

Answer: Congress, in debating this law, talked about Spanish bullfighting as educational and artistic.

Scalia, his voice rising, wait, wait, wait, any depiction of bullfighting is educational?

Answer: Spanish bullfighting.

Justice Breyer: Look what you've done. You've taken these words, which are a little vague - serious educational, scientific, artistic. And you apply them not just to crush videos but to everything from dogfighting to fox hunting, to stuffing geese for pate de foie gras, and sometimes quail hunting. In some states, these things are legal, and in others they're not and people won't know what's legal and illegal.

Justice Ginsburg: What's the difference between dogfighting and bullfighting, and I don't know where you put cockfighting.

Justices Kennedy and Stevens asked about hunting with a bow and arrow noting that some depictions can be pretty gory.

The government's Mr. Katyal replied that since hunting is legal in all 50 states, it's not covered by the law.

But he conceded that a hunting video could be illegal to the extent it portrays an animal being, quote, "maimed, tortured, wounded or killed."

Killed, Justice Scalia all but shouted, how do you limit kill to cruel? Kill has one meaning which is to kill.

Answer: Here, "kill" is in the context of animal cruelty.

Justice Scalia: Some people think killing an animal is cruel.

Justice Alito: Could you ban a live broadcast of a gladiator contest like they had in ancient Rome.

Answer: That would fall under the historical exemption of the law.

Justice Scalia, incredulous: So, if you dress up like an ancient Roman, the whole thing is of historical interest?

Again, Mr. Katyal responded that this sort of line drawing is no different than in child pornography cases.

Justice Ginsberg: What I'd like you to confront is that in child pornography cases, the very taking of the picture is the abuse of the child. Whereas here, Mr. Stevens was not even a promoter of the dogfight and the fight goes on whether he's there with a camera or not.

Representing Mr. Stevens in court today, lawyer Patricia Mallet had an easier time of it, but not a cakewalk.

Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito asked whether the court should worry about real-world problems instead of all the hypotheticals being bandied about.

Lawyer Mallet replied that under the First Amendment, Congress is required to write with a scalpel and not a buzzsaw. And this law, she said, is a buzzsaw.

Justice Alito: Well, what about people who like human sacrifice? Suppose that's taking place someplace in the world. I mean, some people here would probably love to see it - live, pay per view, on the human sacrifice channel. Could Congress ban that?

When Mallet dodged the question, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy pressed for an answer. Finally she said, no. If Congress's only purpose is to shield your eyes for you, it can't do that.






[edit on 21-4-2010 by maybereal11]

[edit on 21-4-2010 by maybereal11]



posted on Apr, 21 2010 @ 10:15 AM
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reply to post by maybereal11
 


Thanks for the linky and the excerpt.


I still just don't get how taking part in a crime is not a crime when it comes to taping animal cruelty for entertainment. These videos aren't made for political reasons, they aren't made to persuade people that it's exciting, they aren't made for educational purposes. They're being made purely for the entertainment value of watching a small animal get squished.



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