What is the “Violence Is Not Entertainment” (VINE) Act?

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.

COPYRIGHT

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.

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What is the Equal Rights Amendment II (ERA2)?

The “Equal Rights Amendment II” (or “ERA II”) is a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  It reads as follows:

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex, sexual orientation, gender, or choice of spouse or partner.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Upon ratification, the Equal Rights Amendment II prohibits discrimination under U.S. and state law on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender, or choice of spouse or partner.

The Equal Rights Amendment II was developed by the Humane Party from 2009 to 2015. The text draws on the language of the original Equal Rights Amendment, which was drafted by Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman in 1923 and narrowly failed ratification as part of the U.S. Constitution during the 20th century.

Equal Rights Amendment II (ERA2) image by Chris Censullo

Equal Rights Amendment II (ERA2) image by Chris Censullo

What is the Democracy Amendment?

The Democracy for America Amendment (or simply the “Democracy Amendment”) is a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Upon ratification, the Democracy Amendment will replace the U.S.’s Electoral College system for determining the next President of the United States with democratic elections of the U.S. President.

By replacing the Electoral College system with democratic elections, the U.S. can avoid recurrence of situations in which one Presidential candidate wins the popular vote but another candidate still becomes President.

The full, final text of the Democracy for America Amendment reads as follows:

Section 1.  The President and Vice President shall be elected by the citizens of the United States.

Section 2.  This article shall become operative two years after ratification.

Democracy Amendment

Democracy Amendment

What are the primary effects and impact of the Abolition Amendment?

The specific language of the first draft of the Abolition Amendment was subject to public commentary through Jan. 25, 2016, and the second draft was subject to public comment through March 31, 2016.  While the final wording of the Abolition Amendment—scheduled for publication on Abolition Day, 2016—may differ from these drafts, here are some general comments.

Some effects of the Abolition Amendment are the same as those of the APE Amendment (final draft published Dec. 6, 2015) and the 13th Amendment (ratified Dec. 6, 1865), which forbid primate slavery and human slavery, respectively.

The key distinction between the Abolition Amendment and these prior amendments is that the Abolition Amendment abolishes the property status of any and all animals—not just that of humans or primates.  In so doing, the Abolition Amendment puts an immediate end to all remaining animal-killing-based and exploitation-based industries, including:

  • meat
  • fish
  • poultry
  • dairy, veal
  • eggs
  • leather
  • fur
  • rodeos
  • vivisection (“animal testing”)

Removing these inherently violent and oppressive industries and practices from our nation represents the culmination of a political movement toward freedom and liberty that began more than 200 years ago in the United States.  Abolition also ushers in a new day of economic prosperity, national security, and environmental recovery.