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Discussion in 'Indie Related Chat' started by pjeigh, Jan 18, 2012.
Just curious as to where indie developers stand on the SOPA and PIPA debate...
All for it, can't wait.
I think there's a lot of scaremongering about misuse of powers that's basically bollocks. A bit like the patriot act that is going to lead to normal members of the public "disappearing" etc.
I'd question why SOPA doesn't appear to have safe harbour provisions unlike the DMCA. That imho would be a valid concern for any game company that allows user generated content within their games or operates a forum and relies on safe harbour protections and prompt take-downs to remain free of litigation.
However, as I'm not a US resident there's not really anything I could do about it one way or the other, even though it could have implications for non US businesses. Which is why I've not really spent much time reading up on SOPA/PIPA, perhaps my above concern would be unfounded if I did.
We're not in the US either, but most of our "customers" are - same for most of us I reckon.
Its not that it IS happening, its that it CAN happen. Mostly in times of outright breakdown of normal governance. Nobody would say that this kind of legislation would immediately effect everyone, but its a slow erosion of freedom that eventually puts someone dodgy in power. I was reading someone from denmark I think it was, that said his government did something similar a few years ago. Originally it was to prevent advertising to kids, then it became something more broad, then they ended up just censoring whole areas of the internet.
If you let one thing slide, then it will end up as death by 1000 cuts.
Lots of things /can/ happen. I applaud the big thing about freedoms and what have you, and I promise to get right behind it once my income doubles.
Yeahhh... oh hey, I see that the game "Yachty" you advertise on your site uses a font that I'm pretty sure isn't yours. At least, it might not be. I'm gonna tell your ISP to take down your site until we sort that out, okay? Don't worry, you'll have five calendar days to mount a legal defense before your site is removed. Of course, all the legal expenses will be yours, which is only fair since I've already identified you as a pirate. Cheers!
You will be ignored.
A cursory news search (Which is all I have time for at the moment. I may well be missing ALL KINDS of things.) suggests that people were mostly more worried about the powers of the patriot act which were intended for Big Serious Problems being applied to really tiny crimes because the authorities couldn't be bothered going through with getting warrants, and there are thousands of cases of that having happened already. But it's still difficult to track exactly what's happened under the Patriot Act because one of its provisions is that nobody is supposed to talk about it.
And that's the sort of fear with SOPA. Not that the government is going to throw you into a secret black prison, but that they're going to use powers which were intended for dealing with persistent pirates on any little site that catches their eye.
(By definition, anyone properly 'disappeared' under government orders is going to be pretty hard to find out about unless someone eventually lets information slip that they shouldn't, or the disappeared person is eventually let go and speaks up about what happened to them. That random teenage girl who the US deported to a country whose language she didn't even speak was simply a Missing Person case until she finally tried to get help in wherever she'd ended up. And no, that wasn't a terrorism case, that was just a weird thing all around.)
I'm all for preventing piracy, however I think that SOPA and PIPA go too far. They basically give the government (and big businesses that can influence the government) the tools to start censoring the internet if they wanted. There's no oversite or checks and balances here. With SOPA a company like EA could claim your little indie game is a clone of Call of Duty (even though its not), and then just shut your site off (via DNS blocking). My understanding is that there's no burden of proof needed (or at least very little needed) to prove there is copyright infringement, so it wouldn't take much to shut down an indie site. Also if someone posted a copyrighted picture in your user forums, someone could cry fowl and have your site shut down too.
Not saying this is what would happen, it's just what could happen with the way the law is written now.
Quite an interesting view, particularly the "income doubling" aspect. Having looked at the SOPA and Protect IP myself, I am very interested to understand how you came to this conclusion? What is it about these bills that you are looking forward to?
If I were a non-us company looking to sell to American customers, and my primary "shop front" is on the Internet I would be a little concerned. Although with the current definition "foreign internet site" being what it is, your .com address makes you a local!
If EA complained about my game to Apple, they'd shut it off.
The legislation is trying to be as loose to use as possible, and tbh I also think it's not hard enough, but there will not be a rash of microsites being shutdown just on someone elses say so. There just won't - if there's overall uproar then the people will revolt and the government will know that, as well as ISP's.
This is yet another conspiracy thing for the tin foil hat brigade to conspire about. We'll never get to mass site shutdowns beyond 2012, that's assuming we can get to december before another attack of killer bees...
SOPA doesn't benefit me so I'm against it. If it benefited me I'd be for it however.
(I'm not being sarcastic btw)
Well, as always, politics is no big deal - until you end up on the wrong side. Not going to pretend I know for a fact what the powers behind all this are or aren't prepared to do, but this pretty much sums up why I don't think SOPA or PIPA are acceptable solutions:
Latest episode of the "Extra Credits" video series on Penny Arcade features five creators calling for a boycott of this year's E3 until E3's owner, the Entertainment Software Association, withdraws its support for SOPA/PIPA.
What do you think the current blackout is? its the people revolting. Thats kind of the point. The people are saying "fuck no, this is far too general legislation and doesn't actually logically serve its purpose, so we don't want it". It doesn't take a legal eagle to understand that someone being blocked at a Universal DNS level for "potential copyright infringement" where that infringement could literally be a picture posted in someone's blog comments. Well, you see the issue. Saying nobody will actually use it is just sticking your head in the sand. The companies pushing for this already DO use all the powers they can to do some pretty shitty things (like sensoring a video of a little kiddie "dancing" because the background had some radio in it with a specific track).
Don't get me wrong, I don't doubt that mostly it wouldnt be the end of the world. But I've seen the legal system in action and that whole machinery scares the crap out of me. I'd rather not give even a policeman a gun to point at me, he most likely wont shoot me, but hey, I'd just rather he didnt have the gun thanks. Sorry americans... you're too late for that one
In the past the rule has always been to keep politics off the boards. This topic is kind of *very* tangentially related to indie games but it can easily go down that political flame war route so I'm locking it. There's plenty of other sites to discuss inane stuff like legislators and laws etc... Too many.