(Expanding upon our previous post on this topic).
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 Games, creators of the ever popular and worldwide League of Legends, has had enough of these bills. Today, they have publically taken their stand against SOPA and PIPA. The kicker? LoL is a free to play downloadable game. Riot puts their product out for free, they have no fear from pirates. What will happen to the community and the popular “Summoner Showcases” videos hosted by Riot’s own Nikasaur? How will this ever growing community and massive player base (larger than World of Warcraft) continue to prosper if these bills get passed? I know I personally have some of my favorite kills up on YouTube.
- Kills streaming. If any single streamer plays copyrighted music (or alt tabs into a movie or other owned content) on their stream, there is a significant risk of the entire streaming service being taken down. In some cases, it could even result in criminal penalties for the streamer.
- Threatens independent content creation. Services we all use to create and share League of Legends related content, such as YouTube, Reddit, DeviantArt, streaming websites such as Own3d and Twitch, and more would be at risk of shutting down or greatly restricting the scope of legitimate content allowed on their sites.
- Attacks our community. Aspects of our service such as the official forums and potentially even in-game chat, could be taken down or have their features reduced based on user behavior.
- Other harmful effects. SOPA/PIPA undermine established intellectual property legislation like the DMCA, raise serious constitutional free speech issues, and could even compromise the basic security infrastructure of the internet.
As a heads up, this is not a threat or a fad, this has a high chance of actually happening. It’s terrifying to even think about. I commend Riot Games for standing up to these community ruining bills. Riot also makes it clear that they “do not support efforts to prevent online piracy.” These bills have just gone too far.
Are you helpless at the hands of the House of Representatives and Senate? Of course not. As a democracy we have the ability to tell our congressperson just how we think. Riot listed this LINK and I’m reposting it to reiterate that YOU have the ability to make a difference. As a gamer – you do NOT want SOPA / PIPA to pass.
Cheers Riot, my hat's off to you.