In a mailer from advocacy group Free Press they ask the question we have all been asking ourselves for months: Why is the media ignoring the Stop Online Piracy Act? The short answer is that various broadcast and cable networks may have been muzzled by their parent companies. The only network that has mentioned it so far has been Bloomberg, and that coverage consisted of ten minutes - and only because Reddit's CEO brought the issue up on air.
The official Reddit Blog announces a "blackout" of the popular site on January 18th from 8am–8pm EST (1300–0100 UTC) to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act. While it would be better if Facebook, Twitter, and Google joined them in this very strong public protest, Reddit understands that it must do what it has to do in order to make a point about these bills. From the site:
League of Legends developer Riot Games let us know that they, have officially announced their opposition to controversial legislation under consideration in Congress: the U.S. House of Representatives’ Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). The company's CEO, Brandon Beck, took to the official forums for the game (which has 11-million-players, for the record) to say that these two bills in their present form are unacceptable:
A new petition on Change.org, which already has over 1,800 signatures, is asking Electronic Arts to publicly come out against the Stop Online Piracy Act. The petition was created by New York University student and gamer Shashank Kasturirangan. The petition is directed at Tammy Levine - VP of Worldwide PR, Joel Linzner VP of Business and Legal Affairs, EA CEO John Riccitiello, and SVP of Corporate Communications Jeff Brown.
Nine-hundred and twenty-eight. That is the magic number of the day because it is the number of experts, trade groups, advocacy groups and technology companies that have officially come out against the Stop Online Piracy and Protect IP Acts. The list, which was compiled by The Center for Democracy & Technology features a who's who of technology experts, CEO's and top shelf advocacy groups that thinks these two anti-piracy and counterfeiting laws do more harm than good.
Maybe the comments on the Video Game Voters Network (the Entertainment Software Association's advocacy group for gamers) Facebook page are purely anecdotal, or represent what Lamar Smith (the Texas Republican Congressman who is to lead sponsor on the Stop Online Piracy Act) calls a very "vocal minority," but the entire page seems to be inundated with negative comments.
Those that prefer a little activism in their free Android apps will enjoy the new Boycott SOPA app, which enables users to scan barcodes on products and determine if the manufacturer supports SOPA. The App works exactly like any other app that allows you to scan a barcode - but instead it tells you which ones support SOPA, and therefore, which ones you shouldn't buy.
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):
Overclock.net has gathered an avalanche of stories related to how Battlefield 3 and Origin are being received in Germany (thanks to Solarian for tip). The short answer is that Germans seem to hate it because of the company's terms of service and what Origin is doing on people's PCs.
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 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.
ZippyDSMlee: oy the skyrim paid mod thing is going over well. My 2 lints, I would not mind if Skyrim had a full SDK and not a crappy lil editor....04/24/2015 - 6:46pm
Andrew Eisen: Well, that is indeed crappy and nonsensical.04/24/2015 - 3:45pm
Matthew Wilson: she got attacked for saying that she personaly has not experienced the harassment some other female devs have, and she got acused of defending GG and ignoring harassment. she ended up getting dog piled because of it.04/24/2015 - 3:43pm
Andrew Eisen: Fine but do you recall ANY details at all?04/24/2015 - 3:38pm
Matthew Wilson: it was several weeks ago now, and I will admit to not saving it.04/24/2015 - 3:36pm
Andrew Eisen: Attacked HOW and by WHOM for not writing off WHO as evil? Do you have a link or anything?04/24/2015 - 3:31pm
Matthew Wilson: that is the whole point she was not attacked for saying anything. she was attacked for being willing to debate in the first place, and not just write them off as evil.04/24/2015 - 3:28pm
Andrew Eisen: I know there's not a lot of room in the Shout box but goodness you're being vague.04/24/2015 - 3:26pm
Andrew Eisen: Great, but that STILL doesn't tell me what she said, why she was attacked (or what the attack was) or what "standard line" she's following. Details, man. Details!04/24/2015 - 3:25pm
Andrew Eisen: Or what the heck Nina White (someone else I've never heard of) is actually referring to.04/24/2015 - 3:24pm
Matthew Wilson: @AE she is a game dev. she used to do stuff with hormanix and now works with https://outact.net/#!/?page_id=2 she will often engage and debate both side.04/24/2015 - 3:23pm
Andrew Eisen: ...following.04/24/2015 - 3:23pm
Andrew Eisen: You mean focus on stopping the bad behavior of those who are doing it rather than condemning all the people that associate with them? Great. But I still don't know who Emma Clarkson is, what she said, why she was attacked or what "standard line" she's04/24/2015 - 3:23pm
Matthew Wilson: I think people are coming around to the idea that divide and conqueror might be a more effective method than scorched earth. scorched earth has been tried for 8 months with almost no progress, so its time try something new.04/24/2015 - 3:20pm
Andrew Eisen: Can you elaborate? I don't know who that is.04/24/2015 - 3:17pm
Matthew Wilson: as I understand just general difference of opinion. for example I have seen Emma Clarkson get attacked becouse she chooses to engage and debate, instead of just fallow the standard line.04/24/2015 - 3:13pm
Andrew Eisen: 'Cause if it's the latter, that kind of stuff should be shamed.04/24/2015 - 2:47pm
Andrew Eisen: And shaming women for being women or having an opinion or shaming specific women for exhibiting particularly repugnant attitudes or behaviors?04/24/2015 - 2:47pm
Andrew Eisen: "Last few days" seems pretty specific. I honestly don't know what he's talking about. I hear that sentiment all the time but I've never actually seen an example of it.04/24/2015 - 2:46pm
Matthew Wilson: just the general actions on both sides, but in particular those who are anti gg, but using the same tactics of harassment and shaming.04/24/2015 - 2:34pm