Tuesday, 3 January 2012

ESA Continues to Support SOPA

The Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA, as it is commonly referred to, is a topic that has many people up in arms in anger. For those that don't know, it is a proposed American law that will allow the government to shutdown an entire website if they are found to be hosting content that infringes on copyright law. This has many people angry as such a law would end up with major websites like youtube and facebook having to just shut down if one user uploads a music video or their cover of a popular song.

What has this got to do with games? Well, many major publishers are, by proxy, in support of SOPA via the ESA and, as joystiq reports, the ESA recently released a statement on the matter.

 "As an industry of innovators and creators, we understand the importance of both technological innovation and content protection, and do not believe the two are mutually exclusive. Rogue websites – those singularly devoted to profiting from their blatant illegal piracy – restrict demand for legitimate video game products and services, thereby costing jobs. Our industry needs effective remedies to address this specific problem, and we support the House and Senate proposals to achieve this objective. We are mindful of concerns raised about a negative impact on innovation. We look forward to working with the House and Senate, and all interested parties, to find the right balance and define useful remedies to combat willful wrongdoers that do not impede lawful product and business model innovation."

What they're essentially saying is that they have no intention of dropping their support even if many people in the industry have no intention of supporting it.

While I can't fault the ESA for wanting to combat piracy, this is completely the wrong way of doing it. The implications of SOPA will impact pretty much anyone wishing to break into the games industry. Mods for PC games could be deemed to be breaching copyright and would end up either unsupported by devs who want to support them or shut down completely by this government legislation. Not only that, but SOPA will essentially allow the US government to police the internet, because aparrently no one else can. If SOPA passes, it will mean the end of all creativity on the internet, it would be like nuking a city because there is someone commiting murder there.

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