No matter where you stand on politics this is a threat that all video game fans and Internet users need to be aware of.
Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R.3261) is an anti-piracy bill currently being considered in the U.S. Congress that has the stated purpose of promoting “prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.” As great as that sounds, the real effect of the bill becoming law would be to allow the Justice Department to massively censor the Internet and block access to any website that they want. Sadly Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, Apple, EA and many others are fully on board with the plan.
The summary of the bill at OpenCongress.org clearly spells out its intent and is truly a scary prospect. It reads as follows:
This bill would establish a system for taking down websites that the Justice Department determines to be dedicated to copyright infringment. The DoJ or the copyright owner would be able to commence a legal action against any site they deem to have “only limited purpose or use other than infringement,” and the DoJ would be allowed to demand that search engines, social networking sites and domain name services block access to the targeted site. It would also make unauthorized web streaming of copyrighted content a felony with a possible penalty up to five years in prison.
Should this become law any company that complains to the Justice Department that a website is infringing on one of their copyrights would be able to access to that website blocked if the DoJ agrees.
How would this affect Brutal Gamer? Well, it could easily mean the end of all reader traffic from the U.S.. For example, if we publish a review/article/news post that a video game company does not agree with (like a bad review for a game) that company could go to the DoJ and say that we used screenshots or video for their copyrighted game without permission. Because Brutal Gamer (and all other video game websites) have so much copyrighted content on them (screenshots, videos, etc) it would be reasonable for the DoJ to find that we have “only limited purpose or use other than infringement” and then we suddenly are blacklisted.