The Daily Gamecock

Editorial: Restrictions needed for internet content

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to ban people from selling or posting animal cruelty videos on the Internet. They claimed the law that was made in 1999 was too broad and did not correspond with the First Amendment.

In 1999, the law was made to mostly stop “‘crush’ videos” where women in high heels would crush animals with their heels. But any video with the depiction of torture or intentional killing of animals still qualified under this law as illegal.

Obviously the law from the late ‘90s is outdated and hopefully no one really “crushes” animals anymore; so, the Supreme Court is throwing it out.

But, that doesn’t mean that animal cruelty on the Internet will now be accepted.

Even though the Supreme Court ruled that it should be protected under the First Amendment and this particular law only addresses portrayals of the acts, states play by their own rules and have had laws in place for animal cruelty that will not go away.

Yes we should play by our own rules and allow freedom of speech on the Internet, but what happens when the line gets crossed? Wayne Pacelle, the president and chief executive officer of the Humane Society of the United States, suggested there be a narrower law put in place that bans these acts of cruelty via video podcast; that way, people aren’t using the First Amendment as their excuse.

Even on Facebook and YouTube, people are given the right to report someone for posts such as a photo, video or comment. There are things exposed on the Internet that shouldn’t be because they are inappropriate for some users.

So, yes it is great that we have the right to freedom of speech in this country. But, when it comes to inappropriate material, then that’s when laws should be put in place to make some restrictions.