Sony, Nintendo and Electronic Arts have all withdrawn their support of SOPA, but the Entertainment Software Association is still hanging in.
The Stop Online Piracy Act, better known as SOPA, is bad news. Bringing piracy to heel is a noble goal but imposing sweeping, arbitrary laws that can force websites offline with almost no judicial oversight isn’t the way to go about it. The average guy on the internet may not care much one way or the other [probably because he’s not even aware of what’s going on] but some backlash is beginning to be felt: Go Daddy dropped its support for SOPA a couple of weeks ago following calls for a boycott of its services and now Sony, Nintendo and Electronic Arts have all followed suit – sort of.
Sony Electronics, Nintendo and Elecronic Arts, which had previously thrown their weight behind the proposed legislation, are now all notably absent from the most recent list of SOPA supporters. Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Music Nashville remain on the list, which is unfortunate, but of greater concern is the continued presence of the Entertainment Software Association, the industry association which counts among its members Sony, Nintendo and EA. The support is still there, in other words, less direct and better camouflaged but still very much a part of the process pushing for the implementation of SOPA.
As long as the ESA remains onboard, the pro-SOPA side can claim that the videogame industry as a whole – including Sony, Nintendo and EA – are firmly behind the initiative. And that may very well be the case; this could very well be nothing more than an attempt to score some points with the rabble while letting its industry association do the dirty work. Unless and until the ESA itself steps back from the affair, hopefully with an appropriate level of fanfare, pulling their names off that list doesn’t add up to much in my book.
UPDATE: Our unenthusiastic half-props for decoupling themselves from SOPA may have been a little premature as, according to Techdirt, the companies in question were never on the SOPA supporter list in the first place. An older list of supporters posted on Scribd includes Go Daddy and a number of law firms which demanded their names be removed in December. Notably absent, however, are Sony, Nintendo and Electronic Arts.
The trio had signed their names to a letter from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global IP Center, released in support of SOPA-like legislation, but had never actually directly endorsed SOPA itself, which is why their names aren’t on the list. They haven’t changed their position on anything, and while it’s better than nothing that none of them have explicitly come out in favor of the proposed law, the fact that the ESA is still pushing hard for it remains deeply discouraging.
Thanks to -Dragmire- for the tip.