ESA still fully backs SOPA, issues statement of support

3:45 PM on 01.03.2012

Jim Sterling

Former Reviews Editor

The Entertainment Software Association has addressed recent discussion of its involvement with SOPA, confirming to Joystiq that it has no intention of withdrawing support. The controversial bill, which maintains growing popular disapproval, shall continue to have the backing of a large section of the game industry.

As an industry of innovators and creators, we understand the importance of both technological innovation and content protection, and do not believe the two are mutually exclusive. Rogue websites – those singularly devoted to profiting from their blatant illegal piracy – restrict demand for legitimate video game products and services, thereby costing jobs. Our industry needs effective remedies to address this specific problem, and we support the House and Senate proposals to achieve this objective. We are mindful of concerns raised about a negative impact on innovation. We look forward to working with the House and Senate, and all interested parties, to find the right balance and define useful remedies to combat willful wrongdoers that do not impede lawful product and business model innovation.

Many huge publishers -- including Sony, EA, THQ, Microsoft, and Capcom -- belong to the ESA, and as such, indirectly support legislation that could threaten jobs and the freedom of the Internet. Clearly, the ESA is thinking of short-term gains and refuses to see the wider impact of SOPA. It has also officially turned its back on the people who helped it in the case of Brown v. EMA, and proven the Videogame Voters Network to be nothing but hypocritical astroturfing.

I still hope that the ESA will open its eyes in the near future, and realize that blindly signing up for anything that opposes piracy -- no matter what it is -- is a very rash, very stupid thing to do, especially when nearly every member of the ESA promotes its products using the very same sites directly threatened by SOPA.

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