If you really want to know who supports SOPA, and you are a Chrome user, then you might want to download this Chrome extension created by Minneapolis developers Andy Baird and Tony Webster.
If you really want to know who supports SOPA, and you are a Chrome user, then you might want to download this Chrome extension created by Minneapolis developers Andy Baird and Tony Webster.
A petition on Change.org asks Sony's Chairman to change the number of devices that can be activated from the current two to the original five on PlayStation Network. According to the creator of the petition, the November 2011 update to the PS3 stopped any activated PS3's beyond the first two from being able to download content from the PlayStation Network.
"This has effectively turned many PS3 consoles into very expensive paper weights!," says the main message on the petition page.
Earlier this week Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian took a few minutes to talk to Bloomberg TV about the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act. It's an interesting but short interview that brings to bear the main point that tech innovators opposing this bill have been saying: companies like Reddit who rely on user-generated content - would not have been possible had these laws been in effect.
The choice quote of the interview, as pointed out by BetaBeat, is this one:
Forbes has an excellent editorial up about the ESA's support of the Stop Online Piracy Act that does a great job of explaining - in simple English - how it could affect every day web sites who might not necessarily be engaged in anything but providing content.
In a response to a question about the protests over SOPA going on at Reddit, the bill's sponsor Lamar Smith (R-Texas) described the community to political site Roll Call as a "vocal minority" whose complaints about the bill were "unfounded." Reddit users have a simple response for the head of the House Judiciary Committee: Challenge Accepted and Completed.
Professional game players organization Major League Gaming clearly is against the Stop Online Piracy Act and has made a move to show its disdain for the bill by removing one hundred domains from GoDaddy's care. The company announced yesterday that it will not align itself with companies that support the House anti-piracy bill.
A report on Digital Trends confirms that Capcom supports the efforts of the ESA as it relates to the Stop Online Piracy Act, though the confirmation is merely one sentence from a Capcom representative.
When asked about the company's support, Capcom's representative responded in an email saying "The ESA represents us on these matters."
A TechieBuzz report points out an interesting fact about GoDaddy's initial support of SOPA; that it may have been done as a way to deal with some problems related to some pending legal action against the company by some major Hollywood trade organizations. The report suggests that GoDaddy might have supported the bill to gain immunity from a court-case against the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
TechDirt reports that the boycott of GoDaddy over its support for SOPA may be fizzling out. Pointing to data from DailyChanges, TechDirt says that the domain name and hosting service actually gained more customers than it lost. According to this graphic, GoDaddy saw a net gain of 20,748 new domains registered (43,304 new registrations versus 35,907 deletions) yesterday.
The latest episode of The Jimquisition on The Escapist tackles Sony, EA and Nintendo's involvement in SOPA and Protect IP - two bills that propose doing horrible things in the name of protecting intellectual property rights, fighting piracy and killing the illicit counterfeit goods markets on the Internet.
Here's the lead in from irrepressible Destructoid editor Jim Sterling - or his The Escapist handlers (we're not sure which):
The Westboro Baptist Church pretends that it supports morality, but it's hard to take anything away from what the group does other than to draw the conclusion that they are in it for publicity and controversy. If you need an example of this, then I refer you a recent tweet by top church member Margie J Phelps. This morning she tweeted via her iPhone that the church planned to protest Apple founder Steve Jobs' funeral:
Crysis 2 developer Crytek is on the offensive this week, denying accusations that it mistreats its employees and treats them like "disposable pieces of meat to be discarded at will." A Tumblr blog, "hire and fire Crytek," accused the developer of treating its employees "as disposable pieces of meat to be discarded at will" and described the Frankfurt studio as hostile workplace where management had "unlawfully fired employees" and forced out senior developers who the company thought could be replaced by younger and less-experienced hires.
While the fight between Sony and George Hotz is over, collective, faceless hacking group Anonymous says that it will not relent in its very public assault on the company for its treatment of consumers who want to share information and explore the depths of the PS3's technological capabilities. The group released a new video yesterday saying that it plans to fight on against Sony online and will still protest Sony Style stores around the world on April 16.
You can watch the latest video to your left. Obviously, Anonymous does not have the kind of massive support it had when it decided to protest Scientology around the world, but protests - even small ones - are not good PR if they are done right and offer the right messaging.
Hactivist group Anonymous may have targeted Sony's web sites and online services in the past week as a way to protest its legal action against PS3 jailbreaker George "Geohot" Hotz, but soon it will take the fight offline like it did with the Church of Scientology. The group announced that it is staging a 4-hour in-store boycott at Sony stores around world on Saturday, April 16. Over 1,000 people have committed to joining in on the protests through Facebook.
Last Monday, Anonymous launched a DDoS attack on the PlayStation Network (PSN) that made it inaccessible for most of the day. At the same time, an Anonymous offshoot calling itself "SonyRecon" targeted individual Sony employees. But taking down the PSN was not the most popular of decisions; PS3 users complained that the takedown was doing more harm than good to gamers.
UK service provider British Telecom and anti-piracy law firm ACS:Law may find themselves in some serious trouble. The BBC reports that BT and the law firm may have breached the Data Protection Act. The law requires that data holders keep personal user information secure at "all times."
Un-encrypted Excel documents were sent in August by BT lawyer Prakash Mistry to Andrew Crossley of ACS:Law. The document was sent in compliance with a court order to turn over names of suspected file-sharers. While BT requested that the personal information be kept securely by ACS:Law, the company sent two un-encrypted documents via email. One document contained information on 413 users suspected of sharing the song "Evacuate the Dance Floor" and the other document contained 130 users who were suspected of sharing pornography - obviously of a commercial nature.
Kotaku reports that the notorious Westboro Baptist Church (who you may know better as the "God Hates Fags" sign wielding congregation out of Kansas) will be in San Diego next week to protest the "idolatrous worship" taking place at Comic-Con (thanks to Shoutbox user Rodrigo Ybáñez García for the tip!).
The activity will happen on July 22. To get an idea of where this group is coming from you need look no further than comments in its schedule of events section on its web site:
A public demonstration against the lack of an R18+ rating in Australia, which featured marchers dressed as zombies, went off without a hitch—but with plenty of lurching—in Sydney over the weekend.
Rhys Wilson, head of the group Aus Gamers Limited which organized the protest, wrote on Facebook, “I want to thank each and every one of you guys for making yesterday easily one of the best days of my life. I haven't heard any complaints from anyone, and I'm more than happy to do this again later in the year, assuming I'm not killed in a freak manure truck accident.”
IT Wire estimated the crowd of gathered ghouls at between 500 and 600 strong, easily surpassing a November 2009 similarly-themed march, which drew around 175 participants.
The Facebook group Aus Gamers United is planning a public demonstration against the lack of an R18+ videogame ratings category in Australia which will feature a twist; all the participants will be dressed as zombies.
The same group conducted a similar event last year, but this year’s already looks to be monumentally bigger. The November 2009 march (video here) had 177 confirmed guests, while the new rally, scheduled for March 27, boasts 1,123 confirmed guests. The Epic Zombie March March is scheduled to kick off an Sydney's Hyde Park Fountain at 11:00 AM and run through 4:00 PM.
Urging people to “get your lurch on,” the event's organizer wrote:
…the serious reason we're putting the walk together is for the lack of an R rating for video games we have here in Aus. Someone needs to bring to attention how unfair this is to the gaming Industry and gamers ourselves. So why not us?
Ubisoft recently detailed the specifics of their new DRM scheme, which requires a constant internet connection to merely be able to play the games. Understandably, gamers are upset that a momentary internet connection hiccup can result in losing unsaved game progress mid-session -- even in single-player mode.
Instead of whining about it on the internet, however, game journalist Lewie Procter of SavyGamer is deciding to fight back in the form of a "reverse boycott". In essence, Procter wants people to buy the game en masse, then return the game unopened and untouched at the end of the valid refund period, explaining that they find the game's DRM to be unacceptably restrictive. In theory, the protesters will receive a full cash refund (at Tesco, a UK retailer) and Ubisoft will feel the burn from the retail outlet.
Negative Gamer has already signed on in support of the protest. However, it's unlikely to catch on as well in the US, where many retailers have significant restrictions on refunds for games.
GP: While the intentions are good, I fear that the reverse boycott will ultimately be ineffective. Even if there is an unusually large response, the dollar amount is simply not going to be enough to make Tesco or Ubisoft take notice. But the attempt is far from useless. Negative public backlash has proven helpful, perhaps instrumental, in changing restrictive DRM schemes in the past. Simply bringing attention to the issue could be Procter's greatest success.
Dan Rosenthal is a legal analyst for the games industry.
The latest action from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) targets Canada’s annual seal hunt and includes an interactive component.
The game itself is a rather simple Flash-based, embedded diversion that has players control a baby seal around men armed with clubs as it slips down a hill. While this year’s seal hunt has ended, PETA hopes to leverage the upcoming Vancouver Winter Olympics in order to draw attention to the grizzly hunt with the hopes of eventually stopping it altogether.
The annual hunt sees baby seals bludgeoned in front of their parents, often before they have eaten their first meal claims PETA. In order to not damage a seal’s pelt, PETA says that many seals are hooked in their eye, cheek or mouth and dragged across the ice, often while still conscious.
PETA’s action campaign sends emails on behalf of the submitter to Canada’s Prime Minister and the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee. PETA also urges a boycott of Canadian maple syrup to further get the point across.
Brisbane, Australia is the site of a planned rally which hopes to show government authorities just how serious gamers Down Under are about receiving an R18+ videogame rating category.
The rally is planned for December 5th at 11:00 AM in King George Square. Treat Us Like Adults, a website/organization founded by game developer Ethan Watson, is behind the movement. Watson has a personal stake in the lack of an R18+ rating as he wants to “make games that, due to thematic content, would likely be refused classification in his home country.”
Watson also plans to give a speech at the event.
Given that a previously planned, and subsequently postponed, demonstration scheduled for Australia earlier this year was going to feature protestors dressed in cosplay, Watson felt the need to note, “Just keep in mind that if you want this rally to be taken seriously by the public at large, you should probably leave your zombie gear for the Zombie Walk or Supanova.”
A group of gamers angry at Valve Software over the development of Left 4 Dead 2 are poised to disband their boycott group.
The Steam Group L4D2 Boycott, comprised of over 41,000 members will close on October 21, 2009 reports VoodooExtreme. The group was angered over what they termed Valve’s abandonment of the original Left 4 Dead game, which they expected more updates and content for, versus Valve’s decision to launch a new version of the game.
Steam user Agent of Chaos said the group had “accomplished everything we can” and added that “Our goal wasn’t to steer people away from L4D2, it was to get Valve’s attention and have them support original L4D. We succeeded and that’s where our mission ends; nothing more or less.”
Another group admin, Steam user Walking_Target stated that “people are unwilling or unable to wait for Valve to follow through in any cohesive way. Valve is at least trying to make things right, there will be speed bumps on the way, however we will get there.”
Labeling the boycott group a success, Walking_Target continued:
As a collective we have done more than achieve a few goals, we have paved the way for Developer-Community relations in the future. No matter what the press or other gamers say, we have made an indelible mark upon the future of this industry. You should all be proud, we certainly are.
Valve flew the leaders of the boycott group out to their offices in September in a bid to make peace.
Amid protests and counter-protests, President Barack Obama will deliver a 20-minute speech on the value of education to America's students this morning.
The Back to School event has been banned from some school districts whose managers are apparently being influenced by the squeaky wheels among the anti-Obama crowd.
In any case, the White House has pre-published the text of the Prez's speech. And, once again, Obama will reference video games - specifically the Xbox:
I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.
I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.
I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.
But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed...
Everyone complains about lousy remakes of favorite games, but activist Chinese gamers did something about it - at least for a little while.
zonaeuropa reports that the online relaunch of Hot Blooded Legend was stopped cold by a mob of avatars that blocked new players from passing through the gates of the game's virtual city. The avatars were controlled by Chinese gamers who were upset that the new game didn't do justice to their beloved original:
Several days ago, Shanda published some screen captures which the players sadly found to include class restrictions and commercial stores... if a player has cash, he can purchase equipment to upgrade without having to go through the trouble to combat monsters ...
The players decided to call for a boycott... At 2pm, the game opened as scheduled... At one entrance, more than 40 characters stood still. They wore cloth dresses and cloth shoes and stood shoulder to shoulder. Other players cannot enter... Meanwhile, several thousand people were blocking the gates of the various cities in the game.
The "counter-attack" [by game admins] came soon... Some players found their screen went black suddenly... Other players were transported by the system administrator far into the wilderness...
While the blockade eventually ran out of steam, the protesters made their point.
Protests held in virtual spaces such as Second Life have real-world political value, according to international projects lobbysist Max Burns, who pens an op-ed for Foreign Policy in Focus.
Paying particular attention to SL demonstrations against the Iranian government's post-election crackdown against opponents of the Ahmadinejad regime, Burns writes:
The active Iranian protest community in Second Life is more than a curiosity, and downplaying the importance of virtual societies in our political and social lives... understates the power of synthetic worlds in creating viable social movements...
Authoritarian governments that repress real-world demonstrations have difficulty doing the same in the synthetic world. Virtual rallies are so hard to shut off because the mechanics of virtual protest are fluid...
Indeed, the efforts of real-world governments to restrict the Internet usage of virtual protesters appears to strengthen the rallies as the online community responds to what it views as an offense against expression. So, for instance, Second Life's virtual protests continued — and even increased in scale — after real-world Iranians started to mysteriously disappear from the synthetic world...
Organizers of a September 12th protest planned for a video game-filled Army recruiting facility in Philadelphia are apparently expecting some of their group to be arrested.
A message posted yesterday at SHUT DOWN THE ARMY EXPERIENCE CENTER details the somewhat stealthy tactics planned for the demonstration and contains the following:
We’re expecting national television and print coverage this time around, so we want to make sure our presence is formidable...
Meanwhile, folks willing to risk arrest are being asked to begin showing up at the Army Experience Center as early as noon to sample one of the X Box video murder games or one of the killing simulators. It would be excellent to have folks on the inside throughout the day.
As GamePolitics previously reported, seven protesters were arrested by police during a demonstration at the Army Experience Center on May 2nd.
Now DeLappe and machinima artist J. Joshua Diltz have collaborated on 6 Days in Call of Duty 4. The anti-war video project combines a static view of CoD4 multiplayer action with a mobile cam. The kill count scrolls in a separate window. Diltz describes the project, which incorporates the recent Six Days in Fallujah controversy in its title:
"6 Days" is an experimental documentary that examines the consequences of a military conflict that rages over a period of six consecutive days in a virtual game world. Through the lens of both a static and roaming ground camera, the movie captures both visceral action and a sobering body count.
Based in the game "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare", the film pays homage to the lives, both military and civilian lost during the Second War of Fallujah.
Download a copy here...
Partially via: Kotaku
In May, GamePolitics provided live coverage of a protest march against the Army Experience Center in Philadelphia. The high-tech recruitment facility employs fast gaming PCs and Xbox 360s as a means of attracting potential recruits.
Seven demonstrators were arrested at the May protest.
It now appears that a second protest at the Army Experience Center is in the planning stages. Details of an action scheduled for September 12th are posted at Shut Down the Army Experience Center.
While the May protest appeared to be coordinated with local authorities, who escorted demonstrators along their line of march, the upcoming event looks to have a more chaotic flavor. From the protest website:
This time, demonstrators are being encouraged to form small affinity groups and enter the mall through one of several locations. Protesters are encouraged to express their outrage in creative, nonviolent ways.
At 2:00 pm people will come out of the woodwork and converge on the Army Experience Center. Organizers feel it may not be wise for participants to congregate into large groups before the demonstration or wear clothing that would suggest participation in the protest...
We have read some reports of late that German officials have banned the public display of Counter-Strike, forcing the cancellation of gaming competitions.
While information to that effect is sketchy so far, such a ban would be consistent with our May report on the forced cancellation of a LAN event in Stuttgart which featured Counter-Strike and Warcraft III competitions.
German gamers aren't taking these repressive measures lying down, however. An estimated 400 gamers assembled for a June protest march in Karlsruhe. German gamer Matthias Dittmayer e-mailed GamePolitics to let us know that more gamer demonstrations are planned for later this month:
Because of this [censorship] there was the (as far as I know) first demonstration of gamers in Germany with up to 400 gamers. The next 3 demonstration in Cologne, Karlsruhe and Berlin are announced for the 25th of July.