Sites such as Wikipedia, reddit and Boing Boing have gone dark today in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act, and Google has also joined in by linking to anti-SOPA info and a petition from its US home page. (For more information about SOPA, go here.)
A handful of game makers have also spoken out against the bill, including FarmVille maker Zynga, but none have gone as far as Red 5 Studios, publisher of the free-to-play online shooter Firefall, which recently pulled out of the country's biggest gaming trade show in protest. The show, called The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, is run by the Entertainment Software Association, which is maintaining a pro-SOPA stance, and Red 5 CEO Mark Kern tells Ars Technica why he's none to happy about it.
Some of Kern's choice quotes from the article:
- "I think developers are completely against SOPA. I think publishers feel caught in the middle, and I think regardless of how they personally feel, they're worried about piracy. They're not worried enough, apparently, to help protect gamer's rights and First Amendment rights, which is the broader line for me as an American."
- "We love the idea of user-generated content. We want to see more games with user-generated content, and [SOPA] threatens that as well."
- "[The ESA believes] this won't be abused. They really believe that they and other corporate organizations can be good caretakers for First Amendment rights. I don't know about you, but I don't think corporations should be arbiters of that at all."
Considering how prevalent free-to-play games like Firefall, as well as FarmVille, CityVille and most Facebook/social games, have become in the past few years, it will certainly be interesting to watch which companies will speak out against SOPA and which will stay on the sidelines.
If you're at all interested in a game developer's perspective on this bill, the full Kern interview is certainly worth a read. You can find it at the link below.
> Why one game developer is skipping E3 to start an anti-SOPA crusade [Ars Technica]
Update: Kern and several other industry insiders created a video that explains why others should protest the ESA's pro-SOPA stance. Watch below.