Several weeks ago, while browsing YouTube, I noticed several videos that popped up in my subscription box regarding a bill that is about to be introduced to the United States Senate. The bill, Bill S.978 simply titled, ‘A bill to amend the criminal penalty provision for criminal infringement of a copyright, and for other purposes’ sent several YouTubers up in arms, so I decided to look into it. Upon reading the title I thought to myself, what’s the problem? I then realized, there has to be some political ambiguity in there somewhere, and I then noticed “and for other purposes” in the bill’s title. That little term could mean you would be sent to jail for uploading or streaming any content of a video game if the bill is signed into law.
After watching many tirades by various popular YouTubers regarding this bill, I then realized several other potential issues that could sprout with the passing of this bill. What would be the fate of Machinima, Ustream, Livestream, let alone the fate of the entire video game industry! The vagueness in the phrasing of the bill could land little children felonies for simply posting a video online of their favorite video game. Luckily our politicians in Washington do not have malevolence, but rather ignorance. The bill was originally intended to halt the streaming of copyrighted content such as films or TV shows online for free. That I agree is a good idea, however, we have a judicial system! If the company sees their content is being distributed free of charge they can easily file a lawsuit, or ask the content to be removed. The main question I ask on this bill is why do the bureaucrats, that are supposed to ‘represent’ us in Washington insist on making the government any bigger? All of this is beyond me, but with all this, I can say that there are several factors that will most likely either prevent the bill from passing or prevent it from staying a law.
The main offense ‘to kill’ this bill, in my opinion, would be the Constitution. The first amendment to the constitution allows for freedom of speech and I believe preventing commentary or even videos of video games would be against the 1st amendment. A recent ruling by the Supreme Court, which overturned a California law banning the sale of violent video games to children, validates this idea, ruling video games themselves as a form of free speech, thus allowing their protection under the first amendment. If the law is passed this basically guarantees that it won’t remain a law. Another potential block for the law is the fact that there is a Republican controlled house. Republicans tend to prevent the government from growing and taking away American’s rights. Since the bill was introduced by a fairly low ranking, first-term senator the chances are also even slimmer that the bill will pass.
Even with all the hype all over the internet, I wanted to share my opinion to all of you loyal OTN readers that there is no immediate threat to your videos of CoD, or streams of StarCraft II. No need to worry, keep posting those videos and be proud that you are an American!
Find out more about the bill at
If you feel the need to e-mail your senator about this issue, you may do such through the website above.