Despite the ESA’s (Electronic Software Association) continued tacit support for SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act), many of the trade association group’s own members are coming out against the proposed legislation. Over the last few weeks, companies like Microsoft, Nintendo, EA and (the videogames portion of) Sony have joined tech businesses like Google and Yahoo in voicing the opinion that the bill is flawed.
In brief, rather than ‘stopping piracy’, SOPA would place vast amounts of power in the hands of copyright holders (such as Universal, Fox, Disney and Paramount), potentially allowing them to get court orders against (and ultimately shut down) sites which “engage in, enable, or facilitate” copyright infringement. Even if the site is simply linking to a different site that, say, hosts some illegal mp3s; which, yes, would include every search engine on the internet.
Epic Games, Trion and Nival already voiced their opposition to the bill, and have now been joined by more anti-SOPA companies.
Graphics card manufacturer Nvidia has stated that the company “wasn’t consulted by ESA in formulating their position on SOPA” and add that “Our position is this: we oppose piracy, as it hurts our game-developer partners. However, we do not support SOPA”.
CD Projekt Red-owned site Good Old Games is not a SOPA fan, stating: “A few examples of what might change if SOPA is passed: it could kill streaming of game footage or even game-chat, radically alter how your favorite user-generated content websites–including the forums–function, and finally, it may well undermine the basic structure of the Internet”.
Elsewhere, Firefall developers Red 5 Studios have declared themselves to be “ashamed of the ESA” and plan to “join Reddit in protest of SOPA by going dark on January 18. We will be taking down our website, community site and Firefall beta for 24 hours on the 18th”. In an even more dramatic move, Red 5 has said that the company will not attend E3 2012 (an ESA-run event) unless the ESA reverses its position.
Mojang has declared that and will be going offline for the day on 18 January.
Torchlight developers Runic added their voice to the protests too, saying “It is clear that the scope of the proposed legislation would give unnecessarily broad power to large corporations while reducing the rights of individual citizens – and it won’t even stop software piracy”.
Riot Games (makers of League of Legends) would also like it to be known that they oppose SOPA: “Riot Games is opposed to SOPA/PIPA in their present form. While we do support efforts to prevent online piracy, the current form of this legislation comes at far too high a cost for us, our players, and online communities across the internet”.
Finally, Trine developers Frozenbyte posted a video letting everybody know how they feel.

The US Congress will debate SOPA further later this month. Although this is purely US legislation, it would have a serious impact on the entire internet. US citizens can help by writing to your local congressperson or representative, explaining why you oppose SOPA.

Paul Younger
Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Founder of the world's first gaming cafe and Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.

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