The Humane Party has today published the first full draft of the “Violence Is Not Entertainment” (VINE) Act, a proposed modernization of U.S. intellectual property law. This draft will now be available for comments from the public until June 23, 2017.
Eliminating Copyright Protection for Animal-Abuse Content
Under the VINE Act, animal abusers can no longer establish, maintain, or enforce a copyright in material that records physical abuse of a living animal. Thus, for instance, upon passage of the VINE Act, U.S. law will no longer recognize a property right in the content of any video or audio recording of any bullfight, dogfight, cockfight, horse race, dog race, animal sacrifice, or rodeo event or any act of vivisection, rape, or bestiality, regardless of where the material was recorded.
Note that the VINE Act excludes from copyright eligibility only those works that visibly or audibly record actual abuse of a living animal. Illustrations, animations, textual descriptions, and computer-generated simulations of animal abuse are unaffected by the VINE Act.
Note also that, in being limited strictly to copyright eligibility, the VINE Act does not prohibit, impede, or otherwise affect publication and distribution of any content or viewpoint and therefore does not raise First Amendment concerns.
Intellectual Property: A New Front in the Abolition Movement
Traditional proto-abolitionism—abolishing human slavery—and abolitionism—abolishing slavery—deal with abolishing the status of sentient beings as personal property. But the VINE Act opens up a “second front” in the abolition movement, namely, that of intellectual property. The benefits of abolishing intellectual property rights in violent content extend well beyond U.S. borders.
For instance, under the VINE Act, copyright-eligibility is stripped away from animal-abuse content regardless of where the content was created (e.g., a bullfighting video shot in Spain will no longer be copyright-eligible under U.S. law). The effect of depropertizing such content is to render the U.S. no longer commercially viable as a market for such content. As a result, a significant portion of the financial incentive to commit violence against animals disappears.
Looking ahead, the Humane Party expects to pursue similar legislation in the other major categories of intellectual property, namely, trademark and patent.
Public Comment Invited
The first draft of the VINE Act will now be available for comments, criticisms, and editorial suggestions from the public until June 23. After expiration of the initial public comment period, the draft will be revised if necessary. The revised draft will then be subject to another 30-day comment period. This process will be repeated as necessary until a final draft has been completed.
About the Humane Party
The Humane Party, which launched in 2009, is the U.S.’s first fully abolitionist political party. The Humane Party platform calls for abolishing the property status of all animals throughout the United States of America. All Humane Party candidates, officers, and board members must execute an oath indicating that they are vegan personally and abolitionist politically. For more information visit www.humaneparty.org.
The full text of the first draft of the Violence Is Not Entertainment (VINE) Act appears below.