ECA’s Hal Halpin Dishes on Anti-Streaming Bill

July 7, 2011 -

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


Comments

Re: ECA’s Hal Halpin Dishes on Anti-Streaming Bill

According to Mechman in the comments on Destructoid:

http://www.joystiq.com/2011/07/06/senate-bill-978-not-much-of-a-danger-to-youtube-game-runthroughs/
"The statute can only be enforced in instances where uploaders are "willfully" infringing on a copyright with intent to make money, and is only punishable if said uploader makes (or the game company loses) over $2,500. "

Does this change things at all?

Re: ECA’s Hal Halpin Dishes on Anti-Streaming Bill

Let's see, Google Adsense ads on the web page with the embedded youtube video? That is an intent to make money.

$2,500 in lost revenue for the copyright holder? Considering the movie industry is losing "billions of dollars" each year to piracy, I think it would be pretty easy to claim a $2,500 loss.

The fact that they are embedding the video shows a willful intent too.

Sounds like it could be pretty easy to claim anyone is breaking this law.

E. Zachary Knight
Divine Knight Gaming

Re: ECA’s Hal Halpin Dishes on Anti-Streaming Bill

as it's written, the $2500 bit is one requirement, the other requirement (as an alternative) is

"(ii) the total fair market value of licenses to offer performances of those works would exceed $5,000"

I sort of expect this will end up being the easier requirement to hit and the grievance more often claimed.

Re: ECA’s Hal Halpin Dishes on Anti-Streaming Bill

If the bill isn't changed then a lot of people are going to go through hell to remove their videos

Whilst I presume certain companies would be permitted to use video game footage in game reviews (comapnies like IGN, GameSpot, The Escapist, etc - most of these companies get copies of the game direct anyway) what happens to certain sites like Machinima.com and similar websites?

The main problem I see with the bill is that it seems aimed at a very specific audience (people who stream television shows, movies, music videos, etc) but includes practically any content that can be streamed in a video (aka: most of the digital world).

Aside from that, the bill is just plain retarded anyway. Why work harder to get rid of people not even causing the problem to begin with?

Re: ECA’s Hal Halpin Dishes on Anti-Streaming Bill

Our government is made up of a bunch of prostitutes. They give up their votes to the highest bidders. They don't even write this legislation themselves, their corporate paymasters write the bills and give them to our so called representitives to pass. No one seems to really care though. Not enough to vote these people out of office at least.

Re: ECA’s Hal Halpin Dishes on Anti-Streaming Bill

That's not cool, insulting prostitutes like that man.

Re: ECA’s Hal Halpin Dishes on Anti-Streaming Bill

The problem is not enough people believe it and no one really gets that far without selling out.  It is a horrendous system, that I am certainb is not just US exclusive.


Re: ECA’s Hal Halpin Dishes on Anti-Streaming Bill

It's not. Moving up in politics just requires lip gloss and kneepads, no matter what language.

Re: ECA’s Hal Halpin Dishes on Anti-Streaming Bill

You forgot the lube.

Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

Re: ECA’s Hal Halpin Dishes on Anti-Streaming Bill

Lube? What, you think politics would make it EASY? =\

Re: ECA’s Hal Halpin Dishes on Anti-Streaming Bill

What about games like COD Black Ops that let you make video clips of your online gameplay and post it to youtube? 

Re: ECA’s Hal Halpin Dishes on Anti-Streaming Bill

One would have to assume that if it's a feature of a game itself, it would be okay. It's not like the bill is targeting ALL streaming, after all.

 

 

"And though we may pledge fanboy allegiances to different flags, deep down inside we all serve one master, one king. And his name... is GAMING! FOREVER MAY HE REIGN!"

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