The “Violence Is Not Entertainment” (VINE) Act is a proposed update of U.S. intellectual property law. Under the VINE Act, animal abusers can no longer establish, maintain, or enforce intellectual property (“IP”) rights in material that includes abuse of a live animal.
The VINE Act directly impacts two bodies of IP law at the federal level—copyright and trademark—and serves as a model for analogous legislation at the state level. Drafting of a separate act abolishing patent eligibility for animal-abuse methods and devices is also underway.
Materials described in 17 U.S.C. 102—such as still photographs, video recordings, or audio recordings—will be excluded from copyright eligibility if those materials record acts of animal abuse. For example, property rights under U.S. law no longer attach to materials recording bullfights, dogfights, cockfights, horse races, dog races, animal sacrifices, vivisection, bestiality, or rodeo events, regardless of where those materials are recorded.
This portion of the VINE Act depropertizes only those materials that visibly or audibly record abuse of an actual, living animal. For example, illustrations, animations, and computer-generated simulations of animal abuse are unaffected by the VINE Act.
TRADEMARK / SERVICE MARK
Marks for goods and services that necessarily require death or mutilation will no longer be registrable with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”), and such marks that have already been registered will no longer be recognized as property under U.S. law. For example, the USPTO no longer grants, renews, or otherwise recognizes registration of marks wherein the identified goods include dead body parts, such as fur, skin, bone, ivory, or muscle tissue.
The VINE Act does not restrict, encumber, or otherwise affect the creation, financing, production, possession, reproduction, distribution, transmission, hosting, storing, advertising, marketing, publication, sale, rental, loan, display, viewing, or consumption of animal-abuse materials. Rather, the VINE Act merely withdraws Congress-created intellectual property status from such materials. Therefore, free speech rights under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution are unaffected by the VINE Act.
An initial draft of the VINE Act will be published for public comments and editorial suggestions later in 2016. Suggestions received from the public during the public-comment period will be reviewed, and the text of the VINE Act will be revised to incorporate such suggestions as appropriate.