ECA: 'SOPA/PROTECT IP Would Be Hideously Bad For Video Gamers'

November 16, 2011 -

A new article over at TechDirt penned by the Entertainment Consumer Association's Vice President and General Counsel, Jennifer Mercurio, explains why the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP are bad for everyone - especially gamers. Mercurio lays out what this means to everyday internet users when it comes to video performance and fair use in the first paragraph:

"If a pair of bills on Capitol Hill, called the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP, pass, you could be fined and thrown in jail for streaming (i.e., 'performing') your video game speed runs or game play. Just as people post cute pictures and videos of themselves, their pets and their kids singing and dancing to copyrighted works, gamers of all ages routinely post pics and stream video of themselves during game play. All of these things have, for the most part, been considered 'fair use' under the law. Tens of thousands of videos currently available online featuring game play from popular games like Call of Duty, Halo, Starcraft and others could be made illegal under these laws."

We recommend you go to TechDirt and read the whole thing but Mercurio lays out all the arguments as to why these poorly worded bills are dangerous to free speech, fair use, and how it takes away due process for those accused of running web sites pegged as trafficking in illegal software or counterfeit products. In other words, these bills give law enforcement the ability to punish those they deem as wrongdoers before they have a chance to fairly defend themselves. This is the basic foundation of our rights - I.E. when we are accused of a crime we are not guilty until proven innocent.

The article concludes with a reminder that the ECA opposes these bills and offers free online tools to help the public let their elected representatives know how they feel about it. Find out more at theeca.com/video_gamers_rights.

Thanks to Uncharted NES for his urgent tip!

[Full Disclosure: GamePolitics is an ECA publication.]


Comments

Re: ECA: 'SOPA/PROTECT IP Would Be Hideously Bad For Video ...

I see two big dangers with SOPA, both stemming from a lack of due process.

  1. Larger companies can take down a small competitors website with little more than an accusation.  The lack of revenue and any potential legal costs could easily put a small business under.  And sure there are legal remedies for false accusations.... but that assumes there's something left when the dust settles who can sue the accuser.
  2. Nothing seems to stop a publisher from saying that any negative reviews of their product (particularly games, but also movies, books, etc.) are a violation of copyright and forcing them to be taken down, while leaving up any positive reviews.  Same goes for gameplay videos that show bugs, exploits, what have you.

I have to mostly agree with Google's (and other's) position on this.  Having a law to shut down sites selling counterfeit goods (particularly pharmaceuticals) would not be a bad thing.  Extending that to cover pirated goods seems to be getting sketchy.  And implementing it they way these bills do is just plain wrong.

===============

Chris Kimberley

Re: ECA: 'SOPA/PROTECT IP Would Be Hideously Bad For Video ...

Man, remember the internet? How much fun we had watching review shows and game related stuff... I'm sure gonna miss all that.

---You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

Re: ECA: 'SOPA/PROTECT IP Would Be Hideously Bad For Video ...

Just a thought but isn't it innocent until proven guilty, not guilty until proven innocent? I mean isn't it the whole point of this article?

Re: ECA: 'SOPA/PROTECT IP Would Be Hideously Bad For Video ...

This whole bill is more like "guilty until proven guilty" anyways.

Re: ECA: 'SOPA/PROTECT IP Would Be Hideously Bad For Video ...

Reread the sentence in question.  He's saying we're not guilty until proven innocent.

===============

Chris Kimberley

Re: ECA: 'SOPA/PROTECT IP Would Be Hideously Bad For Video ...

"until proven innocent" aka, innocent until proven innocent. That's the redundant part.

Re: ECA: 'SOPA/PROTECT IP Would Be Hideously Bad For Video ...

It'll be f*cking awful for everybody... except a handful of big corps, which seems to be the point. :(

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