Gaming sites vs. SOPA / PIPA
Today, January 18th 2012, marks a day where the like-minded, logical, and able stood up to SOPA / PIPA with a blackout. Across the corporate and internet worlds, various companies are publicly declaring their allegiances for or against "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA) and "PROTECT IP Act" (PIPA). In case you’ve been living under a rock, these bills exist to weaken internet content under the misguided banner of nobly protecting copyrighted material. While these bills will be in fact protecting movies, music, and games from internet pirates, there is so much else we will lose in the process. SOPA and PIPA attack websites that create and feature user-generated content. Sites that disobey these laws can get in legal battles and even shut down.
While on the outside it would seem like game companies would want to support SOPA/PIPA to protect people from illegally downloading their games, this is often not the case. While the games would be far more protected, the communities would take a serious hit. Popular forums would hurt, no more spliced game footage, no PvP videos with popular music in the background, and live streams would range from silent to non-existent (RIOT vs. SOPA).
Just what is a blackout? This is the act of a website taking their content down or hiding it so users cannot access the information or causing users to have to take extra steps to access the information. Why? The blackout represents what the internet will be like if SOPA / PIPA pass. By blackening out their sites, people get a glimpse of how these sites and resources they take for granted and/or enjoy on a daily basis could all be gone with the passing of these bills. This stance is of course hurting traffic and revenue for these sites but fighting SOPA / PIPA is much more important to them; quite commendable if you ask me.
If you are still thinking ‘so what’s the big deal” ask yourself this, how often do you go to Reddit, use Wikipedia, search with Google, and stalk with Facebook? If you are the average internet user, I’d say you use at least two of these features pretty regularly. These are just four examples of sites that will be influenced, there are countless others. SOPA / PIPA are not going to get rid of something as powerful as Google, but it will limit what Google shows as search results. In this case, ignorance is not bliss.
This blackout has spread not only to the mega corporations but other sites who are openly rebelling against these tyrannical bills. The gaming community has made their voice heard. Game developers such as Red 5 Studios (FireFall) and Mojang (Minecraft) have gone dark in protest. Gaming news websites such as Destructoid and Gameranx did the blackout to protest as well today. Though the use of text, links, and video you have handed your users the tools to simplify the process for them to stand up vs. SOPA / PIPA. I am jealous of your efforts.
My hat truly goes off to you guys today. While we were unable to join the protest, I see it has our duty to report on the matter. Here at GameZone we do not support SOPA / PIPA so we completely support your protest and hope you have reached your communities and beyond. After this blackout, I would love to know the statistics on how much SOPA / PIPA awareness went up. Well done all. STOP SOPA / PIPA!