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ESA backtracks, drops SOPA support after momentum turns

updated 08:00 pm EST, Fri January 20, 2012

ESA drops SOPA support only after too late

The Entertainment Software Association engaged in what many saw as bandwagoneering Friday after it dropped its previous support for the Stop Online Piracy Act. Now that the bill had been indefinitely postponed following large-scale protests, the game advocacy group switched to arguing for a law that "balances both creative and technology interests." It claimed to have wanted an even approach "from the beginning."

The remarks contradicted the ESA's position from just earlier in the month, when it unambiguously supported both SOPA and its Senate equivalent PIPA as purportedly necessary to combat foreign piracy. It had spent $190,000 in lobbying for PIPA this summer.

Many had added that the ESA appeared even to ignore the wills of many of the companies that were members. Nintendo and Sony dropped out of the supporter list, while smaller game developers in recent days formed League For Gamers to represent a more moderate approach to piracy than the ESA was willing to represent. Its dropping SOPA support appeared to follow only now that it was clear the bill was unlikely to pass.

The endorsement was considered partly odd for the ESA given its normal resistance to heavy regulation of games and the damage that it could have inflicted on games themselves. Either SOPA or PIPA would have risked shutting down whole games or their communities, without the need for a judge, if just a small amount of user-submitted content was deemed violating copyright. It could even have ramifications for Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony online stores if just one downloadable title or add-on was at fault. [via Kotaku]

by MacNN Staff



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