Let me start off by saying that piracy is killing the Game Development industry and I'm kinda passionate about finding ways to eliminate it. So, the idea of something like the Stop Online Piracy Act(SOPA) sounds interesting...but everyone I talk to is angry about it. So, I realized today that most of what I know about it has been passionate discussion and I decided to start looking into it myself.
I started by attempting to read the actual act itself and quickly found myself falling asleep...stupid politicians. I swear most of these things have to get passed because no one can actually understand what they are signing up for. I then decided to read over the Wikipedia page for it which was much easier to digest. The bill makes unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a crime with five years in prison for 10 such infringements within six months....seems reasonable to me. But the heavy handed part is that places like PayPal are barred from doing business with these sites and search engines can't link to them.
People For It Say
- It protects intellectual property for Americans
- It will create more American jobs
- Stops flow of revenue to foreign sites
- Provides protection against buying counterfeit prescription drugs
- Threat to online free speech
- Negative impact to online communities (Etsy, Flickr, Vimeo)
- Impacts to Cloud linking of data
- Weakening of "safe harbor" protections for websites
- SOPA wording is broad and could kill e-commerce (no one will invest because of legal liability)
- Threat to users who upload content
- Threat to internal networks
- targets an entire website even if only a small portion does something illegal
- includes VPN networks
- Ineffectual against piracy (sites will just reopen elsewhere)
- Invasion of privacy (IP blocking and deep packet inspection)
- Lack of transparency in enforcement
Hitting closer to home...Bungie came out in opposition of the bill citing the same reasons in the list above. While they didn't talk in detail about how it will affect the Game Development industry, they agree that it certainly will if passed as proposed. Other companies like Epic Games, Riot Games and Red 5 Studios have also come out in opposition.
The thing that is consistent here is that everyone agrees that piracy is bad...they just don't agree with SOPA as it currently is written. It seems that major revisions would have to be made for it to get into any kind of a state that will help actually solve the problem without changing the American way of life. I'm really glad I took the time to look into this for myself tonight and have learned that I am firmly on the side of SOPA opposition...until they fix it.