This week, Lt. Logan, Chris #1 and Chris #2, and intern soldiers Greg and Gavin hunkered down in the PCG compound to prepare for all-out war on crappy legislation. Gavin gives us the scoop on the new TOR flashpoint, Kaon Under Siege, Greg patents his ingenious idea for 3D printers, and Logan lights a torch and passes out pitchforks around the office in preparation to take down SOPA.
PC Gamer US Podcast 301: Drop the SOPA
Hey-ho, the witch is dead. OK, in truth, SOPA and PIPA will only remain six feet under until they inevitably reach mud-crusted hands out of their graves with newfound rhetoric and support, but the results of recent Internet-wide protesting are encouraging, to say the least. We haven't won just yet, but the tide of battle is most certainly turning.
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.
The Stop Online Piracy Act took a blow earlier this week when Congress delayed the vote in the face of opposition from The White House, but its Senate counterpart, PIPA is still going. Many sites are planning a blackout tomorrow to protest against the bill. Ludum Dare are planning their own protest, in the form of an anti-PIPA game jam.
Their mission is simple: "Let’s protest! Make anti SOPIPA games on January 18 and make the internet crawl with these! It’s the best we can do, let’s abuse it and help the internet stay the awesome place it is now!" Heavyweights like Minecraft creator, Notch have already thrown their hats into the ring. You can follow the latest Stop PIPA chatter on twitter by following the #SOPAJam tag, and keep track of the latest entries on the Ludum Dare site. Thanks to Sosowski for the tip.
The Stop Online Piracy Act hit a wall over the weekend after The White House came out against the bill. The Hill reports on comments from house oversight chairman Darrell Issa, who was assured by majority leader Eric Cantor that more work was needed "to address outstanding concerns and work to build consensus prior to any anti-piracy legislation coming before the House for a vote."
Shortly before that statement, SOPA sponsor chairman Lamar Smith offered to make significant concessions to the section of the bill that would require ISPs to block offending sites, but it wasn't enough. SOPA's Senate counterpart, the Protect IP Act, is still on the table, however.
SOPA protests: Minecraft, Firefall, Reddit going dark next week. Nvidia, Runic and Frozenbyte come out against the bill
Earlier this week Reddit announced that they would be switching off for twelve hours next Wednesday from 8am–8pm EST (1300–0100 UTC) in protest at the Stop Online Piracy Act. Today Red 5 Studios and Mojang have announced that they will also go dark and Nvidia, Runic and Frozenbyte have voiced their opposition to the bill.
Red 5 CEO, Mark Kern confirmed to Shacknews that "Red 5 Studios is joining 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."
"We are extremely disappointed in this misguided legislation. We are also ashamed of the ESA for supporting a bill which is clearly not in the best interests of gamers or the game industry. This bill, and it's sister bill, Protect IP, will shut down live streaming, shout casting, user generated content and have a chilling effect on game innovation and social media," he added.
On Twitter, Notch has mentioned that Minecraft.net and Mojang.com will go down next Wednesday in protest.
Editorial: If SOPA passes in its current form, it will be a disaster for gamers and the games media worldwide
In the next week, the US congress will return to Washington for a bit of work. The first item on the agenda is to debate and pass the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA. SOPA is intended to give media owners the tools to act against those who infringe their copyright in all forms of media, be it audio, video or text. Be it the movie industry, the music industry, the publishing industry, and yes, the games industry.
But the legislation is awful, and it affects gamers worldwide. Under SOPA, e-sports is under threat. Game streaming is under threat. In-game voice chat is under threat. In-game text chat could be turned off. Gaming forums are under threat. And the gaming media (us!) will no longer be able to exist in its current form.
The powers SOPA will grant if it passes are broad and troubling and spell doom for certain sections of gaming. Copyright holders will be allowed to seek court orders against infringing websites, and in its current form, against companies that provide services for them. That means that under a SOPA order, a copyright holder could demand restrictions from not just the site itself, but partner companies and clients such as the hosting domain, the advertising networks that provide ads, payment facilitators and search engines.
A growing chorus of developers, publishers and even congressmen are voicing their opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act currently working its way through US Congress. Notch, creator of Minecraft, is one of those people.
Under existing legislation, the creators of copyright-infringing material can be sued by the copyright owners. SOPA would extend this liability to any site that carries the copyright-infringing material as well. If someone posts a film on Youtube, the film company that owns the film could sue Youtube for carrying it. If someone then links to the film on a forum, that would expose the forum provider to court injunctions from the copyright holders as well.
ISPs and search engine companies can gain immunity from prosecution by blocking sites accused of carrying pirated material, and as it's unlikely that Google or Youtube would go to court to defend content creators they're barely associated with, this would likely result in huge amounts of material being taken down based on the mere accusation of an infringement. This would have devastating implications for Minecraft's thriving fan community, the e-sports streaming community, and any forum that posts screenshots or videos. Beyond gaming, it's a scary bill for sites like YouTube and Reddit, too. You can read the bill in full here Read on for Notch's take on the act.
This morning, Riot Games joined Google, Reddit, Amazon, Twitter, and Facebook on the growing list of internet-based companies to publicly oppose the two extreme anti-piracy bills circling in the U.S. Congress, and asked its fans to do the same. Riot CEO and co-founder Brandon "Ryze" Beck outlined his company's objections to the two bills, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), on League of Legends' official forums and gave several examples of how the bills would harm League of Legends' gameplay and community if they passed. Among them, he warns that it could mean the death of livestreaming and other community-generated content websites like DeviantArt and Reddit.