Editorial: Why PC Gamer objects to SOPA and PIPA

Tim Edwards at

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PC gaming is amazing. It’s a place where technology, passion, art and competition intersect. The business that underpins what we play is fuelled by the internet. The internet is open and free. Therefore anyone can create, share and play together. The internet’s openness means that PC gaming is a level playing field. Massive entertainment conglomerates can invest millions into producing vast online experiences, but the same tools to share, promote and play are available to anyone who wants to make a game. Even our Tom.

In the past couple of years, PC gaming has changed even further, become even more amazing. Thanks to high-speed broadband, PC gamers have become as entertaining as the games themselves, and the amount of media created and shared around games has exploded. YouTube and streaming services like Twitch.TV have made stars of players, created a new breed of pro-gamers. It’s also changed how game creators interact with their community. Gamers have power now. Their power is reshaping PC gaming for the better.

Here’s the problem: the sharing of game footage and screenshots probably counts as copyright infringement.

That’s just the first of many problems we have with the pair of bills passing through the US Congress and the Senate right now. SOPA (The Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (The Protect IP Act) aim to legislate against websites facilitating piracy outside the US. But the language within them is so clumsily worded, the measures so absurdly positioned that they make victims of customers, gamers, the media, game developers and publishers and the technical fabric of the internet, without offering much hope of tackling piracy.

PC Gamer has some experience of this. Legal teams working for game publishers and developers have issued takedown notices to us for hosting trailers and footage of their games, as we attempt to promote their work. Under the current terms of SOPA, their infringement notices would probably have resulted in PC Gamer being delisted from search engines and advertising network and payment providers being forced to sever business relationships.

PC Gamer objects to SOPA and PIPA in the strongest possible terms, and we’re terrified of the effect of what the legislation could have on our business and the wider PC gaming community.

Under SOPA, Macho Man Randy Savage may never invade Tamriel again. We must not let this legislation pass.


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