ESA Refuses To Pull SOPA Support

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ESA Refuses To Pull SOPA Support

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Sorry, folks. The Entertainment Software Association still supports the enormously flawed Stop Online Piracy Act.

Last week's announcement that EA, Nintendo, and Sony were pulling their support of SOPA was met with a mixed reaction. On one hand, the fact that such high-profile companies were no longer putting their names behind such a broken piece of legislation was definitely good news. On the other, the Entertainment Software Association (which counts the three amongst its members) is still supporting the bill.

Today, the ESA issued a statement to Joystiq about its support of the law:

"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."

The fact that the ESA is supporting SOPA is disheartening, but not incredibly surprising. The organization represents a lot of groups that are firmly entrenched in the anti-piracy camp and are desperately trying to stop people from illegally acquiring the content they provide. That said, this is a proposed law where the any pros are severely outweighed by all the cons, to say nothing of the fact that it will "break the internet." Personally, I find it baffling that an organization that spent so long defending the First Amendment rights of its industry is now backing a bill that would trample all over said rights for other groups.

It should be noted that Mommy's Best Games, the developer behind Serious Sam: Double D is calling for ESA members to voice their disapproval of SOPA. Hopefully enough people will raise their voices to get the ESA to rethink its position.

Source: Joystiq

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So when the ESA was fighting for the first amendment rights for videogames it called for us to help it. Now its turned against those who helped it during a critical time and basically flipped us all off and called us suckers.

The industry feels that this will solve their problems. If people didn't, the industry wouldn't be ruining the internet as we know it.

And if the people writing the bill actually knew what the hell they were doing, it wouldn't be this big a deal.

All this will do is hurt the industry. It's fine, when videogames are gone, people will simply move to other means of entertainment. We all know that SOPA isn't the answer. Well, everyone but the people who make these decisions. The companies supporting what the ESA is doing should just start doing something else besides making videogames.

vansau:
ESA Refuses To Pull SOPA Support

So in the same way Sony and EMI and the rest hide behind the name of the RIAA when they need dirty work done, or Fox and Disney and Sony (again) et al hide behind the name of the MPAA, so Nintendo and EA and Sony (fffffffffffuuuuuu...) etc hide behind the name of the ESA. Nice.

"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."

Wow. They win hackneyed talking point PR bingo. Bonus points for relegating everyone who's not a politician to Zoidberg status in the line "We look forward to working with the House and Senate, and all interested parties...."

So they support an unbalanced law and look forward to balancing it later? LAWS DON'T WORK LIKE THAT. Once passed, good luck getting them changed.

News update:
"Link Kadeshi officially pulls support from the ESA, and all other interested parties."

Wow, just... Wow... I can't believe Link Kadeshi pulled support of them! It's almost like he's allergic to stupid, or something. This should be on the news article with an update tag.

I read that Mommy's Best Games article, so I'm going to spam some info around.

From http://www.mommysbest.blogspot.com/2012/01/convince-esa-to-drop-sopa-support.html

ESA contact page http://www.theesa.com/contact/index.asp

Generic email:
[email protected]

The current president of the ESA is Mike Gallagher, and while it's not listed, his email is likely
[email protected]
Please send him your email as well (I've sent one there and it's not bounced at least).

No more sitting around and hoping for the best.

ABBA had it right in their song 'Money Money Money (It's a Rich Man's World)'. I can bet you the jobs they want to protect are their own.

Any guesses how they will define 'rogue' web sites?

Gee I guess online copyright infringement isn't such a black and white issue after all eh Escapist? I find it painstakingly disingenuous for this site to cry foul time after time after time about piracy (Christ you can't even argue against the anti piracy zealots on this site w/o getting banned) and publish absolutely sensationalist anti piracy pieces for the sake of cheap hits only to turn around and do a total 180 when it's their asses and jobs on the line. True colors I guess . . . . .

That little gripe aside SOPA isn't anywhere close to being passed by Congress yet. It's still in the committee stages and even assuming it clears the committee stage, which is where most of these scary bills die quietly (yeah I'm looking at you COICA) it still has another stage to go before it would get a vote and be passed onto the senate and then even if it should pass both of those (not a chance in hell) it would still have survive a veto by the president.

Not to underplay how horrible this bill is, it's horrible but I think the tizzy everyone has got themselves worked into is waaaay premature.

I'm glad that, whether or not you think piracy is the greatest scourge the games industry has ever known, anybody who isn't either a congressman too lame know how the internet works or a member of a huge video game company thinks that SOPA is insane.

And since this is a democracy...oh, right. R.I.P. Internet.

Xanthious:
Gee I guess online copyright infringement isn't such a black and white issue after all eh Escapist? I find it painstakingly disingenuous for this site to cry foul time after time after time about piracy (Christ you can't even argue against the anti piracy zealots on this site w/o getting banned) and publish absolutely sensationalist anti piracy pieces for the sake of cheap hits only to turn around and do a total 180 when it's their asses and jobs on the line. True colors I guess . . . . .

Umm... what? This isn't about piracy. No one is against this bill because it will hurt pirates(except pirates, I guess). We are against this bill because it will hurt everyone in the short run, and some of us are against it because it will particularly hurt the US in the long term.

I fully expect the ESA to be anti-piracy, that's a no-brainer. However, what I do not expect is for this group that took part in the fight to make sure CA Law AB 1179(aka Schwarzenegger V EMA) was struck down to support such a ludicrous and moronic bill as SOPA and Protect IP. It just boggles the mind.

Akimoto:
ABBA had it right in their song 'Money Money Money (It's a Rich Man's World)'. I can bet you the jobs they want to protect are their own.

Any guesses how they will define 'rogue' web sites?

Someone is selling them a bill of goods and it depresses me that a group that is supposed to be smart on how something like this would work is flying blind into a brick wall. The only jobs protected will be those who hold shares in all the large corporations like EA, Sony, Viacom, and Vivendi. Everyone else that is not a lawyer is going to be left out in the cold if this bill passes and e-business turns into a wasteland.
The same is going to happen with the RIAA when the smaller labels catch the flak from this.

Xanthious:
Gee I guess online copyright infringement isn't such a black and white issue after all eh Escapist? I find it painstakingly disingenuous for this site to cry foul time after time after time about piracy (Christ you can't even argue against the anti piracy zealots on this site w/o getting banned) and publish absolutely sensationalist anti piracy pieces for the sake of cheap hits only to turn around and do a total 180 when it's their asses and jobs on the line. True colors I guess . . . . .

That little gripe aside SOPA isn't anywhere close to being passed by Congress yet. It's still in the committee stages and even assuming it clears the committee stage, which is where most of these scary bills die quietly (yeah I'm looking at you COICA) it still has another stage to go before it would get a vote and be passed onto the senate and then even if it should pass both of those (not a chance in hell) it would still have survive a veto by the president.

Not to underplay how horrible this bill is, it's horrible but I think the tizzy everyone has got themselves worked into is waaaay premature.

It's not so much about anti-piracy as it is more what the bill actually represents. If SOPA passes, it will give all copyright holders carte blanche to shut down anything on the internet they feel is an infringement. It is basically the Patriot Act in its raw form for the entertainment industry. You could say goodbye to any independent development as all the likes of Sony would have to do is claim copyright infringement, have that developer's website and mirrors blocked, and those people could just throw up their hands and go home. Their only alternative would be to beg at any of the large companies' doorsteps to get their game developed at the loss of a huge percentage that goes to the bosses.
This kind of threat to freedom of imagination and creativity needs to be stopped now. Now is the time to be active about getting this legislation voted down, as it will show that nothing like this should be tried again. You know the old phrase, 'Nip this in the bud?' Well that applies here. Just because the bill is still in committee limbo isn't an excuse to just relax. Because the RIAA and MPAA lobbyists aren't relaxing. And the fact that the ESA is lobbying for this to pass is even more reason that we shouldn't do what we can to show our congressmen how ludicrous this bill is. Yes, it is comforting knowing that Obama promised to veto it. But how hard would it be to keep this bill in limbo until the election this year? And if by some miracle Obama actually gets voted out(seriously, I'd rather vote for a monkey flinging its own poo than any of the other contenders as it would be more sanitary), how hard to keep it in further limbo until next January?
Not hard at all with the current efforts to try to make the budget look less like a money pit to the voters. This is why we need to nip this in the bud and make sure those congressmen dealing with it in committee know to vote NO.

Addendum:

Scars Unseen:

Umm... what? This isn't about piracy. No one is against this bill because it will hurt pirates(except pirates, I guess). We are against this bill because it will hurt everyone in the short run, and some of us are against it because it will particularly hurt the US in the long term.

The not-funny-but-laughable joke about this bill is that it won't stop piracy at all. Not even a little bit. The joke is going to be on the music labels and studios when they find their sales take a sudden plummet down when every third party website is blocked because of 'anything relating to copyright infringement.' Then when the likes of Facebook and Google Plus are blocked for the same reason, that will kill sales even more because that removes a strong avenue for word-of-mouth.
Seriously, ask yourself: How many movies have you gone to, how many mp3's have you purchased, and how many games have you bought and played because a friend online recommended it?

The answer: Enough to matter.

Same ESA that fought and made games a legit art form? ... This can't be? o_o

And on earth do you mean with protecting jobs? You will cause bigger unemployment with this then those few(very few) jobs you protect T.T"

I'm really confused by their costing jobs thing, the industries that are pirated turn a profit even when they do poorly so there's no jobs lost because of that. They jut want more money ontop of the piles they make already. The greed is absolutely sickening.

What they're not saying is just how this will break the internet and make many SMALL businesses crumble as basically the internet would be so weighed down in corporate bullshit. The internet at this point would most likely be divided into services you'd have to subscribe to as google and verizion were recently caught meeting about. Not to mention the companies would be free to buy positions on search engines to get the top ranked results, again putting the small businesses in a hole.

It's amazing what they don't say to try and push their bullshit.

Well it's good to see that there are a few groups that haven't taken up hacker worship yet, if nothing else.

ResonanceSD:

And if the people writing the bill actually knew what the hell they were doing, it wouldn't be this big a deal.

If you think those lawyers in DC are just a bunch of "clueless old fogies" that don't understand modern technology, then you don't know how DC works.

The fact that they put a block on oppositional testimony/advice for the bill suggests to me that they know perfectly well what they're doing in legal terms, and that they're doing it because they're just corporate yes-men for the bill's supporters.

"Clueless old fogies" would have at least heard opposition for the bill; especially given how strong the public response has been. If it were true ignorance, they would have stopped and realized that by now.

But SOPA is a total windfall for Copyright Holders in the US. It grants such incredible unchecked legal leverage over non-holders. For these Media Giants (who own most of the IP in question) it's far too important to them for public opinion to matter.

I've read numerous accounts of letters, and personal visits to DC and everywhere it's the same response: "Thank you for your input. *Insert Nebulous hand-waving response*."
They respond out of policy, not because any of them are actually listening.

Rogue websites - those singularly devoted to profiting from their blatant illegal piracy - restrict demand for legitimate video game products and services, thereby costing jobs.

We look forward to working with the House and Senate.

Well, given the House is a rogue website...who is going to be arresting them?

samsonguy920:
If SOPA passes, it will give all copyright holders carte blanche to shut down anything on the internet they feel is an infringement.

It's worse than that. SOPA gives them the ability to shut down any website that infringes any copyright. Thus allowing them to shut down each others. Or shut down content that may infringe on others copyright. All without checking what the copyright is.

Let's say Fox News supports it: They would be able to shut down any organisational website that attacked Fox News or any part of News International - including, but not limited to - all their rivals.

At its most basic, SOPA allows companies to remove any quotes of them from the internet - along with the offending site.

If you honestly can't see what's wrong with that, the real life equivalent would be burning film, newspapers and books.

Too bad I don't live in America so I could prepare to vote every one of these jackasses out of office, but I'll have to take comfort in the fact that my entire continent politically opposes SOPA.

Meh, Ive given up caring. Its not going to impact my ability to play games, ice hockey, drive my car or indeed any of the things I like to do to pass time.

But props to them for getting House involved, I'm pretty sure he'll make sure the right outcome occurs (after spending at least an hour exploring all the wrong alternatives of course).

image

Haha. no one should want our congress legislating anything these days. If they knew what they were doing we wouldnt have the problems we have with our economy, healthcare, resource management, etc. But thats a different point.

I find it curious that online games like LOL and F2P MMo's and even those stupid browser games know how to make money but none of these big name companies can figure it out. I mean i know i dont know the answer either but i dont employ a massive legal, financial, and creative team. If they want to stop pirating they cant legislate against it they have to find a way to disable it. Or at least make it more trouble then its worth (and i dont mean anticracking cause thats like antibiotics to bacteria).

Xanthious:
Not to underplay how horrible this bill is, it's horrible but I think the tizzy everyone has got themselves worked into is waaaay premature.

People on the Internet over-reacting? Surely you jest.

I do agree with you though, that people are getting themselves too worked up about it at this point. It's important to track the bill's progress, and to make your disapproval of it known (once, to the relevant outlet), but constantly going on and on about it is tiresome and unproductive. It's a bad bill that shouldn't get passed. Until it's actually in danger of getting passed, there's not really any reason to worry about it. Track it, yes, but not worry about it.

If ever there were a time for a boycott this is it. Don't buy anything; blacklist new releases from these people, make sure any game that an ESA member wants to release gets plastered with this info of how they hate free speech on the web.

For those that say this won't pass i refer you to the bill people said "would not pass" that did so in moderate secret on new years eve. One with far graver repercussions.

SirBryghtside:
Sorry, that picture's copyrighted. No Escapist for you!

...I'm not exaggerating. That's enough ground for them to go on, if the bill passes.

I lol'd :D

Thing is though its one thing to pass this bill but it doesn't mean its going to get enforced to the letter. To over simplify it, its the equivalent of giving a cop a can of pepper spray. Sure, they could spray everyone but you trust them only to spray those... wait, just realised a problem here....

Fasckira:
Meh, Ive given up caring. Its not going to impact my ability to play games

But it will. It will drive many small and medium game developers out of business since they earn most of their money by having people discuss it on forums like these(reddit,4chan with more) which will have to shut down if SOPA passes.

This is a good thing, right? I mean, the only people who care about our rights are pirates and apologists, right?

njsykora:
So when the ESA was fighting for the first amendment rights for videogames it called for us to help it. Now its turned against those who helped it during a critical time and basically flipped us all off and called us suckers.

Of course. They didn't care about our rights, or rights as a whole. This was all about their right to sell you stuff. Now that they have that, we can all piss off.

kebab4you:
But it will. It will drive many small and medium game developers out of business since they earn most of their money by having people discuss it on forums like these(reddit,4chan with more) which will have to shut down if SOPA passes.

How? That doesn't make sense. The SOPA is regarding copyright infringement and is down to the copyright owner if they wish to shut down something. A small to medium size developer will not shut down someone talking about their game. Even if they had a publisher looking after them, the publisher wouldn't pursue it, it'd be shooting themselves in the foot.

I think all this talk of community sites shutting down is knee-jerking to be honest, with people assuming the worse case scenarios then amplifying them as they bounce their concerns off of each other.

Joking aside, Im relatively sure that the SOPA would only ever be used after warnings were given which would prevent community sites from being shut down on the spot.

I have a feeling that the ESA just sees the whole "stop piracy" part of SOPA and hasn't had anyone look closely at the bill to see the things that are so very wrong with the game.

Granted, piracy's a big problem, but they're so desperate for a solution to solve this problem that they aren't checking to see if said solution is likely to screw over everyone involved.

---

Fasckira:
[quote="kebab4you" post="7.336940.13611759"]How? That doesn't make sense. The SOPA is regarding copyright infringement and is down to the copyright owner if they wish to shut down something. A small to medium size developer will not shut down someone talking about their game. Even if they had a publisher looking after them, the publisher wouldn't pursue it, it'd be shooting themselves in the foot.

I think all this talk of community sites shutting down is knee-jerking to be honest, with people assuming the worse case scenarios then amplifying them as they bounce their concerns off of each other.

Joking aside, Im relatively sure that the SOPA would only ever be used after warnings were given which would prevent community sites from being shut down on the spot.

You'd be surprised what some people would do with this kind of power. Of course, no self-respecting developer would dare shut down a community forum if it was singing nothing but praises about their game. However, if a popular forum said, for instance, that Kane & Lynch 3: Because We Can was bad, there is a pretty good chance that SOPA could be used to, oh I don't know... shut them down.

SOPA is so broad that it risks the chances of people being unable to voice their opinions on a certain product or tribute a certain product or... do anything with a certain product for fear of getting absolutely killed by the corporate morons. Basically all lyric, AMV, or any type of music video, live or not, of any artist on YouTube that isn't given the greenlight by the publisher? Grounds for removal due to SOPA. Any LP or any type of game footage that isn't greenlit by the publisher or exempt from this due to a very specific clause (the same one that Bungie provided to allow Machinima makers to make Halo-related Machinima)? Grounds for removal due to SOPA. Those very funny meme videos from movies, TV shows, or anime? SOPA removal, asap.

And this is just YouTube. Stuff like GFaqs? Gone. Stuff like Ctrl+Alt+Del and Penny Arcade? Gone. Hey, there are also some copyrighted material on Facebook and Google+ that's also shared by people. GONE.

Corporate executives are two things: Moronic and paranoid. They're not going to look into anything that 'seems' like it's breaking copyright; either they don't have the power and don't have the attention to deal with it, or they're just SOPAing the crap out of it to preserve their product. The Internet, whether we like it or not, is partially built upon the use of copyrighted material, with or without valid use, and SOPA threatens to block every single damn thing it thinks may be a threat.

Fasckira:

kebab4you:
But it will. It will drive many small and medium game developers out of business since they earn most of their money by having people discuss it on forums like these(reddit,4chan with more) which will have to shut down if SOPA passes.

How? That doesn't make sense. The SOPA is regarding copyright infringement and is down to the copyright owner if they wish to shut down something. A small to medium size developer will not shut down someone talking about their game. Even if they had a publisher looking after them, the publisher wouldn't pursue it, it'd be shooting themselves in the foot.

I think all this talk of community sites shutting down is knee-jerking to be honest, with people assuming the worse case scenarios then amplifying them as they bounce their concerns off of each other.

Joking aside, Im relatively sure that the SOPA would only ever be used after warnings were given which would prevent community sites from being shut down on the spot.

He was saying that the more selfish companies out there will take down sites like 4chan, youtube and facebook. Those places are where indie game companies get most of their publicity, so if they don't have those then no indie game will ever get as succesful as say Minecraft every again.

OT: If this passes then everything will be shut down. Every fan site, wiki, review site, blog could and probably will be shut down. A company could probably shut down the whole of the steam forums because one guy had a copyrighted name in their username. If this bill passes it will bring through the darkest and most selfish sides of all companies.

Fasckira:

Joking aside, Im relatively sure that the SOPA would only ever be used after warnings were given which would prevent community sites from being shut down on the spot.

The first five minutes of this video explains that problem here pretty well. Proves pretty nicely that SOPA won't be used "sensibly", because even the current system is apparently prone to abuse.

Im not sure WHY the ESA is backing this bill in the first place; many of its members are backing away from support and some have been openly hostile towards SOPA for a while now. Look at what SOPA will actually do to online innovation; something its members are HEAVILY reliant on. What happens even in the closed systems of PSN and XBL when someone includes something that can be deemed to be "Infinging" on these vauge rules but not technically in violation of their rules. Can whole web services be held responsible for their content as well as websites?

Well in the case of VPN networks it is a resounding YES, the bill was designed to kill them BUT what about other budding content delivery networks? How does any service avoid falling foul of these rules? Any site or service that hosts video or is capable of having video embedded will simply die.

All online reveiws of movies and games not by the biggest corporations will be taken down. AVGN, Spoony, Nostalgia critic all the well known online game/ movie satirists will simply be gone. And this is just the tip of the iceberg of what SOPS could allow to happen; the terms are so weighted towards to supposed copywrite holder that it basically voids the terms of fair use and the Millenium Digital Copyrites act.

SOPA at its worst level is old media trying to kill new media. This is a GROSS oversimplification since EVERYONE will suffer due to SOPA but its one troubling facet out of many.

Also, if you're reading this, please take ten minutes to read this article. It also explains why SOPA and PIPA are bad ideas.

They never realize that this is the exact wrong way to do things. They're just banging their heads against the walls, because essentially...no one will ever accept it, everyone will find ways around it, and they'll be run ragged trying to do something about it...which will fail miserably.

Never mind the fact that it would cripple the internet, conflicts with the DMCA and would make it a nightmare for people who use copyrighted material under fair use to file counter claims, SOPA should be shot down because as a few experts are claiming, it won't work against piracy anyway. This entire bill is a fucking farce that will hurt legitimate websites and services while doing nothing more than mildly inconveniencing pirating sites. SOPA should have been laughed out of the congressional hearings but naturally, our politicians are fucking idiots who have made it clear they don't know any of the technical aspects involved.

Doesn't it just make you want to slap the bastard who came up with it in the first place? That said, i'm not surprised ESA didn't pull support but can at least be glad that a lot of game developing companies have started to pull support. It will hurt their customer base more than it will protect their wallets, and it's time they start realizing it.

The First Amendment is great until it gets in your way, huh? I guess it would be foolish to expect more from them. They're a business interest group, not a consumer one - meaning they're not out to protect us, they're out to encourage legislation that benefits their members.

They got what they wanted out of the first amendment, they no longer care about it.

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