What is a crush video?
Crush videos, also known as squish or trampling videos, cater to fetishists who gain sexual gratification from watching women torture and kill small animals by stepping on them.
Typically, those crushing will use their buttocks or feet, making this fetish popular amongst many foot fetishists, as crushing by feet is usually the main focus. The foot (barefoot or in shoes) is thus often idolized by someone with a crush fetish.
With the explosive growth of peer-to-peer file sharing networks, the availability and production of crush videos is already increasing dramatically.
Additionally, the increasing popularity of websites that thrive on displaying shocking and violent videos are putting more of these types of videos into the mainstream.
Laws against crush videos
In 1999, Public Law 106-152 (Title 18, Section 48) was enacted. This Federal legislation makes it a felony to create, sell, or possess videos depicting animal cruelty with the intention of profiting financially from them.
18 USC 48 / PUBLIC LAW 106-152
Sec. 48. - Depiction of animal cruelty
(a) Creation, Sale, or Possession.
Whoever knowingly creates, sells, or possesses a depiction of animal cruelty with the intention of placing that depiction in interstate or foreign commerce for commercial gain, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
Subsection (a) does not apply to any depiction that has serious religious, political, scientific, educational, journalistic, historical, or artistic value.
In this section
(1) the term ''depiction of animal cruelty'' means any visual or auditory depiction, including any photograph, motion-picture film, video recording, electronic image, or sound recording of conduct in which a living animal is intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded, or killed, if such conduct is illegal under Federal law or the law of the State in which the creation, sale, or possession takes place, regardless of whether the maiming, mutilation, torture, wounding, or killing took place in the State; and
(2) the term ''State'' means each of the several States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and any other commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States
The federal law extends state and federal laws to make possession, creation, or selling of crush videos a felony, regardless of where the video was originally created.
Unfortunately, the nature of Internet law makes putting an end to crush videos challenging. In most situations, the laws by which a website must abide are determined by the location of the server that hosts the website, not the location of the person in charge of the website. For this reason, individuals in the United States who wish to promote and broadcast violent and offensive content will usually seek out a foreign website hosting company, where there are no laws against crush films. Because the law specifies that the creation of or selling of the videos, there is no law prohibiting giving them away for free, as many of these sites do.
Additionally, most of the places where the public would come across these videos, such as the gore sites mentioned above, are not actually responsible for creating the videos. Many of those sites rely on user-submitted videos and photos, and depending upon the software they are using to facilitate file sharing, they may track little or no information about the person submitting it.
Even determining out who is responsible for the cruelty itself can be extremely challenging, and can sometimes even be impossible. Other times, the person is identified, but the cruelty was filmed in a country with little in the way of animal protection laws. That said, there have been several cases over the past few years where the animal advocacy organizations, with the help of concerned citizens, have resulted in criminal charges being filed over online cruelty, and convictions being handed down to the animal abusers responsible.
What can you do?
1. Once you realize that it is a crush video, stop watching it. These videos can be quite grisly, and are extremely traumatic to watch.
2. If possible, download the video file to your computer, and send it (along with the url of the page and any user information that may be included) to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Do NOT complain to the site owner until this has been done, otherwise they may remove the video, and then animal protection agencies have no evidence to work from.
3. If the video is posted on a community website such as MySpace, e-mail the website's support team, reporting it as inappropriate and offensive.
If a video has made it to MySpace, however, there is a good chance it is already posted on one of the gore sites. On sites that are clearly geared towards displaying offensive content, sending an angry letter to the webmaster will typically not help. Those sites make money on advertising, so the more offensive their content is, the more website hits it usually gets. In short, their most disturbing videos are their bread and butter, and it is unlikely that they will remove a video that is getting such strong reactions.
4. For gore sites, to find out who owns the domain name, and where the website is hosted, use a lookup utility such as samspade.org or dnsstuff.com. You may try e-mailing or calling the website hosting company, however gore sites have been known to host videos such as unedited human beheadings, so the chances are good that the website host is already aware of the content and simply does not care.