In an interview with Destructoid, ECA big cheese Hal Halpin discusses why gamers should worry about S.978, a bill that would make streaming copyrighted material a felony.
“I understand the intent that the legislators and trade associations have with the bill,” said Halpin, “but it’s so broad that it casts a very wide net, including people who innocently post video captures of their gameplay! Alone, that represents a huge community of people.”
“This bill, as written, will apply to anyone who plays and posts their gameplay online, which is a huge percentage of gamers. It could also apply to pro gamers who stream their gameplay for fans as easily as it applies to companies whose entire existence relies on streaming technology (i.e. Steam, Netflix, Gamefly/D2D, Major League Gaming, EA/Origin, OnLive and Gaikai, etc.).”
Uh-oh! I posted a couple of speed runs just this week. I might have to take those down as Halpin thinks this bill is very likely to pass.
“Let’s look at it this way: any legislation that has no opposition looks like an easy vote to legislators. If it looks ok on its face, and none of their constituents are against it, they’ll likely vote for it. Simple as that.”
So what can gamers do? Halpin has a few suggestions:
“Gamers can make their voices heard through the ECA and take part in our campaigns against this and other similar legislation, by signing up to our Gamers for Digital Rights working group. They don’t necessarily need to be members of the association to join and they’ll then be able to get as involved as they like – getting updated information, newsletters, write letters to legislators via our online tool sets, etc.”
Check out the full interview at Destructoid and see how Halpin responds to awesome questions like: “are [bills such as S.978 and Yee’s violent games law] just being written by people who don't know what they're doing?”
Disclosure: GamePolitics is an ECA publication.
-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen