Early in December, word came out of Brazil that the country was considering legislation to make it a crime to create, import or distribute videogames “that affect the customs, traditions of the people, their worship, creeds, religions and symbols.”
The bill was sponsored by Brazilian Senator Valdir Raupp, who, as Brazilian website UOL reports (translated), is not in the habit of playing videogames himself and could not name any particular game that might fall under the proposed legislation.
Raupp did, however, diss Brazil’s rating system for games—the Department of Justice, Ratings, Titles and Qualification (DJCTQ)—saying he was “certain” that people were not following its guidelines. David Ulysses, Director of the Department of Justice, would not address Raupp’s comments directly, but believes that it is not necessary to censor games in Brazil, saying that the current system supports freedom of expression and consumer choice.
Marcos Khalil owns UZ Games, a retail videogame establishment in Brazil with 22 locations. He stated that such a ban could further impact what is already a “small domestic industry” and could lead to him closing stores and laying off employees, not to mention increasing illegal sales or piracy of games.
Level-Up! Managing Director Julio Vietez, whose company serves up digital copies of games via the Internet, was concerned over the term “offensive” used in the bill, noting that what is offensive to one person or group might not necessarily offend a different person or group.
Glauco Bueno, Director of Marketing and Strategy of Latin America for distributor Synergex, also expressed dismay should the bill become law, “It would be a setback to the advancement of the entertainment media in Brazil, with serious effects on the chain…”