Friday, January 20, 2012

The ESA has dropped it's support of SOPA. Holy shit.

Okay, kind of beside the point since the bill (and it's cousin PIPA) are both effectively dead, but still a pretty big deal and a HUGE moment for the video-gaming community. If nothing else, it shows that the same fervor that's often mounted in support of silly causes like Diablo III's color-scheme or "nerfing" of this or that feature CAN in fact be mobilized to effect real concrete change in the industry; and that in itself is an incredibly positive development.

In terms of business/politics/history, this whole series of events also represents a pretty massive shift in the entertainment-industry power structure - essentially, the tech/digital side of the amusement biz (video games, Google, Wiki, YouTube etc) were on the winning side of a legislative defeat while the film/TV side came out the (corporate) losers. The Internet is now "officially" more powerful than Hollywood - that's a big change, and the aftershocks will be felt for a long time.

For those who're wondering about the status of the Stand Together boycott... as of right now, I don't know. Speaking only for myself, I think that it's incumbent upon to me to acknowledge that they "listened to us" and rescind the "no E3 coverage whatsoever" blackout for my own blogs; but I don't think I'll be throwing them a party either - they never should've supported the bill in the first place. I'll clarify that further once everyone invovled in the initial boycott gets on the same page.

As to "what's next?" Tomorrow night (Saturday) at 10pm CST, I'll have a NEW episode of The Game OverThinker up for ALL audiences that - rather presciently, if I do say so myslef - has a few things to say about where anti-piracy legislation and the relationship between the entertainment industry and it's audiences in an increasingly-digitized age needs to go. I hope you'll tune in - it also features the announcement of some "tweaking" to the format of the series that I think many will find very pleasing.


Subtle said...

Well, on the one hand the ESA did rescind their support of this horrible bill, and that's a very good thing for gamers who likes being able to go on Youtube or Google. On the other hand it came on the heels of SOPA and PIPA's withdrawals, which is pretty much just saying that they only did it because it looks like there is no longer an immediate issue. Still, it looks like the internet did get through to the people running this thing, no matter how much bs they spout trying to cover their asses.

Jannie said...

Holy shit indeed.

I was practically certain SOPA would pass when this all started, but wow it looks like it's over now, or at least that the current storm has died down a bit.

Frankly I'm shocked. In a good way, but still, shocked.

Mads said...

I think this was actually a very natural development.

Once something gets sufficient attention and infamy, something is always done about it by those in power.

This comes after victory upon victory in the courts for what nerds can agree is right and reasonable.

However much you may hate the current political processes and climate, things have been going quite well since 2008. The old power structures are slowly buckling, and giving rise to...well...politics 2.0.

Graham said...

Will this news have any affect on Episode 64? Will you have to add an update or anything?

Jannie said...

The thing is, I don't see this as a "victory" for digital nerds or some such. "The old power" isn't "buckling" and we're not all headed for some magical "politics 2.0" future where we all abandon the heartland, move out to the costs and live on twitter or any of that.

What it is, really, if you look at the long view of it is this: a bunch of powerful companies and their paid-for senators and congressmen tried to make a power grab, and a huge number of OTHER powerful companies (Google, Wikipedia, etc) banded together with the internet populations they had fostered for years and stopped them. If anything it goes to what I told my boyfriend a long while ago--I said "if this fails", which at the time I thought was unlikely, "It will be because Google and Facebook stop it."

And, I'm not sad to say, I think that's a fairly accurate description of what happened.

Now the problem here is that this may cause a lot of internet denizens to suddenly feel rather chesty in the wake of "their" (i.e. Google, Youtube and Facebook's) victory over the RIAA/ESA/MPAA alliance, a.k.a SOPA. Some people, mainly over on Escapist, are already crowing about the unity of the internet and such. And I hate to tell everyone this but these companies who supported us when we needed it will just as quickly abandon us when and if it becomes economically problematic.

They're on our side NOW, but there isn't a bus big enough to toss us under when we become a problem. Remember, when that law in California was trying to make "violent" games illegal, for lack of a better descriptor, the ESA threw together that Video Gamers Voting Movement or whatever it was called for "freedom" and "open source" and "other digital buzzwords".

And until recently THEY were the ones who wanted to kill the internet as we knew it. So yeah, never trust corporations, groups of corporations, or any and all combinations thereof and never think that just because they're your allies now they'll stand by you when you really need them. Cause I can pretty much assure you, if this bill wasn't going to gut YouTube and screw with Google's economics model, they'd have rushed to support it so fast you'd think they could tap into the Speed Force.

Jay said...

Don't get your hopes up. Lamar Smith already has a NEW bill intended to take away freedoms of privacy. All in the name of helping the children.

If you want to stop SOPA and all bills like it, it's time to vote some people out of office. And it's time to get the democracy that we had back into power.

Erlend said...

This is good. Isn't it?

Jannie said...



It's time to start throwing these shitheads out; you know here in MI the nerdy little prick the Tea Party put in charge actually managed to ramrod through a bill to tax people's pensions? Like old people, literally grabbing the checks from some shaky old woman's hands. And now he's trying to raise taxes on getting licenses, of various sorts, all in the name of helping "small business" like some kind of cartoon villain.

I said to someone yesterday, it reminds me of the Disney, furry version of Robin Hood, you know how Prince John was taxing people so hard he was having his soldiers take the cheese from Church mice. I mean really.

Thankfully the people seem to be tired of this "small business" libertarian Tea Party hokum by now.

Also I do think we can pretty much call the SOPA/PIPPA/OPEN whatever form it takes movement dead. Lemar "I know shit about computers" Smith can put whatever he wants on the table, too many people and even the corporations (the ones really behind all of this, not the politicians) got spooked by the sheer outrage everyone expressed when this all went down, and like I said Google and Facebook and other huge, heavy hitters are "on our side" (read: loosely allied with us temporarily). So now we, gamers and internet users, have both money and momentum on our side. It's pretty much over, though the last few gasps of the bills will still linger for a while longer, but it won't go anywhere. When the monied interests turned against it that was the end. It always is.

Sylocat said...

Here's the problem. Lamar's next bill is entitled the "Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act." And they're probably just going to copy the entire crucial text of SOPA and paste it onto the end of PCFIPA.

And it will pass, for one very simple reason: No bill with the words "Protect," "Children," "From," and "Pornographers" in the title will EVER be voted down by the congress. It won't even be put up for discussion. It will have the full support of the house (with a few outliers, maybe, if we're lucky), the full support of the senate (now that Feingold is gone), and the full support of the American people, by a 9 to 1 margin.

The entertainment industry has finally gained a rudimentary grasp of technology. It took them 15 years, but they finally figured out what "DNS" is, or at least enough about it to exploit the flaw with centralized DNS.

The only chance (literally, THE ONLY chance) is for the blatant corporate-freedom bias of the Roberts Court to bait them into smacking down this new bill, if we can frame it in such a way that it looks like PCFIPA will make it harder for ISPs to screw over their customers. Those are the depths to which "our side" will have to sink.

Jannie said...


Doubtful. Lemar Smith I believe has been somewhat deflated by this whole scenario and if they weren't spooked by it then Obama wouldn't have come out and said he was "intending" to veto SOPA anyway...

Granted, I don't trust Obama, he's a mite too "centrist" (ie: moderate conservative) for this bleeding heart, but still.

The fact is I think we genuinely scared them this time, the uproar was so loud and even came from big corporations like Google and Yahoo and YouTube and such, that it made them stop and reassess if they even COULD get this passed let alone should they. My belief, and my hope, is that this bill dies on the vine too, if it is as transparent as you describe, but even still I think enough people can get the word out to at the very least make such a scheme unworkable or very very shady-looking to everyone concerned.

Believe it or not--and this shocked me too--there are SOME people in politics who AREN'T massive man-whores getting paid through big business. Don't get me wrong, they're a vanishing minority, but they do exist, and I doubt they'll buy into another crazy bullshit scheme like this SOPA/PIPA nonsense again. Or at least not for a while.

A year or three from now when the news reports die down, then maybe people will forget or forgive and try again, but I feel pretty sure we dodged the bullet this year.

Or I could be just a dreamy-eyed idealist.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Subtle on this one I think the timing of ESA's Press Release screams bullshit. If it was even a day before the bill was shelved I would've accepted their change of heart, but I don't the statement is sincere.

Sylocat said...


'Believe it or not--and this shocked me too--there are SOME people in politics who AREN'T massive man-whores getting paid through big business.'

Oh, I know. There are some. Unfortunately, those people are getting voted out in droves.

Russ Feingold (the ONE Senator, at the time, who voted against the Patriot Act) got tossed out in 2010 in favor of a guy whose previous job was... CEO of a plastics corporation.

After that, what are we left with? Barney Frank, Dennis Kucinich, Tammy Baldwin... maybe Al Franken, although even he has made some astonishingly bad calls. Barbara Boxer at has least a half-decent voting record... and that's all I can think of, at least at the national level.


'and if they weren't spooked by it then Obama wouldn't have come out and said he was "intending" to veto SOPA anyway'

Hmm... good point, actually. It could be just a base-energizing push for the moment, but he did come out against some heavy corporate backing.

Maybe there is hope after all. We can dream.

Exiro said...

Don't listen to him, the big scary guys paid him to make this video!

Anonymous said...

Score one for us.

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