If they had gone through, the definition of “foreign site” was such that f1fanatic.co.uk would have been classified as a “foreign site”, and therefore potentially subject to blocking in the USA if anyone on that IP had put anything infringing a copyright recognised in the USA. This would have applied irrespective of whether the material had been posted by Keith, a commenter – or another, totally unrelated site that happened to be sharing the same IP.
The law would also have given the courts power to demand any US-based search engine delist any site which had been blocked under SOPA/PIPA. This would be a local problem… …except that all three of the major search engines on the internet (Google, Yahoo! and MSN) are based in America. Given how woolly the law had been written, they might have been able to list an offending site on their non-US search engine, but that would be a long shot. Search engines bring a substantial amount of new traffic, so this would have been a big problem had SOPA or PIPA decided to block F1 Fanatic.
It is worth emphasising at this point that US law would have been used to determine whether copyright was breached – and someone from my part of the UK recently lost an extradition case to the USA for merely linking to copyrighted content (albeit on a substantial scale). Since it is easier to block a site than extradite its owner, I would expect the threshold to be lower. No “grace period” was set for removing offending content before the block was set, so no amount of post-moderating vigilence on Keith’s part would have been a guarantee of protection (even assuming every other site sharing F1 Fanatic’s IP had been equally vigilant).
I can say with confidence that f1fanatic.co.uk would have been classified as a “foreign site” because its primary top-level domain is not one distributed by a US registrar (such as .com, .org or .edu). As the SOPA/PIPA legislation was written in this draft, issues such as server and owner location were not considered. To clarify, a site on a top-level domain distributed by a US registrar would have been assumed to be “domestic” and not subject This would have led to some strange classifications. For example, my blog would have been classified as “domestic” and F1 Fanatic as “foreign” despite Keith and I being equally British (and thus logically both “foreign” from a US perspective).
These were not well-written laws. They would have led to big problems for F1 Fanatic and many, many other sites had they gone through. Thankfully the threat has gone – for now.