Online Gamer... And Congressional Rep. Jared Polis Discusses Problems Of SOPA In Gaming Forum

from the net-native dept

There's been lots of talk about members of Congress being proud of how ignorant they are of technology and the online community -- and then seeking to regulate that which they do not understand. One exception has been Jared Polis, who was an internet entrepreneur before he was a Congressional Rep. And it turns out he's a video gamer as well. Via the Legal Lady, we discover that Rep. Polis jumped into the middle of an online forum discussion about SOPA/PIPA when he noticed it on a forum involving a game he plays, League of Legends. This wasn't even a case of him starting the discussion, but seeing an ongoing discussion about the bill already, and just jumping in (you have to scroll down to see it):
Hi, this is Congressman Jared Polis of Colorado. As a member of the League of Legends community (partial to Anivia and Maokai), and as someone who made his living as an Internet entrepreneur before being elected to Congress, I'm greatly concerned about the future of the Internet and gaming if Congress doesn't wake up. You may have heard that Congress is currently considering a bill called the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA. While SOPA has a ton of problems, there are some significant issues that I thought fellow gamers might want to know about.

I'm particularly concerned that SOPA might stifle the kind of innovation that brings us games we love, such as LoL. The bill makes it far too easy for angry competitors to sue good law abiding companies out of existence. It threatens any company or website that depends on user-generated content, even companies like Riot. Instead of coming up with great ways to keep making games like LoL even better, companies will have to spend their money hiring lawyers. That's why companies like Riot, who want to protect the games they create, are opposed to SOPA.

I've been working on alternative legislation that would protect the games companies create while also fostering innovation. But we also need you to call your members of Congress and let them know of your opposition to SOPA. This bill has a very real chance of passing, and it is up to all of who want to protect the Internet to take action. More information is available at http://keepthewebopen.com/. Please make your voices heard in this debate! I will be happy to respond to your posts below, and will check back every few hours today and respond to as many as I can.
After hearing about so many elected officials who are totally ignorant about online communities... it's kinda refreshing to see one who is much more net native...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    Xyro TR1 (profile), Jan 12th, 2012 @ 6:41am

    I now respect Rep. Polis on an infinitely greater level. We need more people like him in our legislative bodies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 12th, 2012 @ 7:27am

    I think the internet would explode if a congress person turned up on 4chan /b

    That would be nice.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 12th, 2012 @ 7:33am

    But this will never work...

    For those 'big' name politicians..

    For the 'indie' politicians....

    Without selling T-Shirts.....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    John Doe, Jan 12th, 2012 @ 7:33am

    He did say one thing that scares me...

    I think it is great that he jumped into the conversation and is on the right side of the debate, but he did say one thing that scares me. That is that he is working on alternative legislation. Apparently when your only tool is legislation, everything looks like it needs legislated. We do not need SOPA, we do not need PIPA, we do not need any new legislation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Greevar (profile), Jan 12th, 2012 @ 9:22am

      Re: He did say one thing that scares me...

      That is for certain. We don't need more legislation to increase control in favor publishers. We may need legislation to limit the powers that already exist or to scale back the existing powers. It is likely also be better if we can narrow the focus of what copyright covers (i.e. commercial infringement only and not individuals, copyright was meant to stop publishers from ripping each other off not the general public) so as to not make every piece of user-generated content into grounds to blow up the world wide web.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      gorehound (profile), Jan 12th, 2012 @ 9:43am

      Re: He did say one thing that scares me...

      Exactly.He is just another Politician who feels that some form of Censorship is needed.
      He does not get my approval.He is just one of those who want a kinder gentler SOPA/PIPA

      You Politicians will soon wish you did not try to Censor our lives and the lives of those overseas.
      Hope we see a "Million Man Hacker" Parade thru all your Computers in Protest.They will not even have to make a physical trip to Washington.They will own you.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    anonymous, Jan 12th, 2012 @ 7:38am

    my concern here is that he is more worried about games than anything else internet related, simply because he plays them himself and no longer needs to be an internet entrepreneur. yes, of course games and the companies that produce them are important, but there are a great deal more companies and personal issues at stake. he knows this already but he needs to stand up for the internet as a whole, not just the parts that are of interest to him personally

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      bwp (profile), Jan 12th, 2012 @ 7:46am

      Re:

      He was replying in a game related forum so of course he's going to make his statements game related. If he is/was an Internet entrepreneur then I'm sure he has other Internet related concerns and if he was in the appropriate forum would address those to the appropriate audience.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      PaulT (profile), Jan 12th, 2012 @ 7:54am

      Re:

      " he needs to stand up for the internet as a whole"

      Is there anything other than his comment on a forum about a game he plays to suggest he's not doing this? Or is this just another game of "let's pretend anyone who disagrees has ulterior motives" without the luxury of being able to just accuse him of being a pirate?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Sally Robinson, Jan 12th, 2012 @ 9:31am

      Re: gaming focus

      Don't forget that the context of Rep. Solis' comments cited above are from WITHIN a gaming community. I'm sure he's concerned about SOPA as a whole but in this case, the commentary is context-relevant to the audience.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Dave C, Jan 12th, 2012 @ 7:45am

    My Congress Member's Response

    I contacted my Rep. in Congress a few weeks ago and got this in response:

    "Thank you for contacting my office regarding intellectual and property online piracy. I appreciate your views and having the benefit of your opinion.

    H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act, introduced by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), and a related senate bill, S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act, introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), seek to protect intellectual property and combat commerce in counterfeit goods on the Internet. Specifically, the Stop Online Piracy Act would make it a federal crime to illegally stream copyrighted content and would significantly expand the government's authority to shutter websites that provide access to pirated or counterfeit content. H.R. 3261 is currently being considered by the House Committee on Judiciary.

    I support the goal of this legislation—to protect intellectual property and combat commerce in counterfeit goods—and I support a targeted approach that does not entangle legitimate websites, but I am concerned that H.R. 3261 is written too broadly and may have an adverse affect on free speech and internet innovation. The legislation is a major departure from the current "notice and take-down" system that provided protection from liability for internet service providers and websites that expeditiously remove infringing materials from their networks, and some critics of the legislation argue that new regulations may result in uncertainty that could disrupt Internet innovation and growth.

    It is critical that the Internet remain a viable avenue for American innovation and commerce, and we cannot ignore those individuals and rogue websites that seek to profit off of the innovation of others. However, we must be sure not to overreach in our attempt to curtail this activity when a more targeted approach may be more effective. I will keep your thoughtful views in mind as Congress continues to consider this important issue.

    Thank you again for taking the time to be in touch. Please do not hesitate to contact my office in the future with questions or concerns."


    My worry is that in support of the 'Idea' too many will forget the 'Risks'. Techdirt has pointed them out over and over again and nothing I've heard from Congress is making me feel like this is really slowing down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      John Doe, Jan 12th, 2012 @ 7:55am

      Re: My Congress Member's Response

      Specifically, the Stop Online Piracy Act would make it a federal crime to illegally stream copyrighted content

      Does he not see a problem with this statement? If I post a video to YouTube of my baby dancing to music by Prince playing in the background, I can (and will) become a criminal. Most likely a felon. So now the average Joe (or John in my case) will get a felony record, maybe do some jail time or at least parole, pay a heavy fine and fail the background check that many employers do these days. So now we will swell the ranks of the unemployable and government assistance programs. All for something that should be fair use.

      Nope, I don't see a problem there.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jan 12th, 2012 @ 8:35am

        Re: Re: My Congress Member's Response

        The bigger problem is people that watch your video(streaming) are now criminals as well.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Jan 12th, 2012 @ 8:56am

        Re: Re: My Congress Member's Response

        More importantly, it would make a whopping lot of the people who are so vocally opposed to SOPA-type legislation ineligible to vote. That's some quality deviousness there.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Greg G, Jan 12th, 2012 @ 9:20am

        Re: Re: My Congress Member's Response

        Uh oh, you used the term "Average Joe"... Average Joe is going to come after you. And probably me, now, for also using it.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jan 12th, 2012 @ 10:02am

        Re: Re: My Congress Member's Response

        So this is the really the 'Privatized Prison' bail-out bill...

        What better way to reward the privatized prison system than to provide them with a whole new list of 'clients' ....

        Extort money up front if you don't agree to their terms, and throw you in jail (to the benefit of the prison system) if you dare to make 'fair use' of their copyrighted material...

        Nothing could ever go wrong with this system (as long as the goal is a Russian Gulag environment, where everyone is too afraid to say anything that might be 'infringing' for fear of being suddenly "disappeared".... when the live street corner camera catches them and streams the content to the police office showing the 'offense' of quoting someone (copyrighted material... check, streaming... check, person caught on camera = felon for streaming of copyrighted material)

        For those that say this would never happen, once these bills pass, just wait, I give it 6 months before someone is arrested for simply speaking in view of a camera that's streaming the material somewhere else....

        No I'm not a cynical tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy theorist... why do you ask?

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        nasch (profile), Jan 12th, 2012 @ 11:15am

        Re: Re: My Congress Member's Response

        Does he not see a problem with this statement?

        "I am concerned that H.R. 3261 is written too broadly and may have an adverse affect on free speech and internet innovation."

        Yeah, I would say he does see a problem with it.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 12th, 2012 @ 12:05pm

      Re: My Congress Member's Response

      Well that's a pretty positive response. Could you post the letter you sent to him please?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Jan 12th, 2012 @ 8:00am

    Silent Partner?

    I wonder if the prison-industrial guys are involved in SOPA lobbying as well...

    It would make a bunch of new stuff into crimes--which means more prisoners, ergo more money, for them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Loki, Jan 12th, 2012 @ 8:01am

    Interstingly, League of Nations is from Riot Games, and one of the lawyers for Riot Games has also recently come out in direct opposition to SOPA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jan 12th, 2012 @ 8:03am

    Those who followed the SOPA hearings (or at lease EFF/Mike's on-the-fly info) know Polis knows what he's doing in the House in contrast with most of the other politicians. The fact he's a fellow gamer, I'll admit, brings him up a whole new lvl for me but the main thing is that he knows what he's doing. And interestingly his amendments to the bill were mostly rejected by the morons supporting the damned thing. Speaks volumes of who to vote on next elections.

    Next: Polis leads the new "rogue politicians" list published by the MAFIAA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Marlamin, Jan 12th, 2012 @ 8:49am

    Hope for Politics?

    Amazing! A politician I voted for actually does something that I agree with. Perhaps there is still (a tiny sliver of) hope for politics left.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Call me Al, Jan 12th, 2012 @ 9:00am

      Re: Hope for Politics?

      I that happened in the UK I'd be outside with a pair of binoculars looking for flying pigs.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    bshock, Jan 12th, 2012 @ 10:21am

    "alternative legislation?"

    Dear Representative Polis:

    The only "alternative legislation" we need is legislation that rolls back the abomination that intellectual property law has become.

    SOPA is a solution for a problem that only exists in the lazy, calcified brains of Big Media executives and their fellow travelers. It will clearly cause more problems than it solves, because it solves nothing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    เกมส์นก&, Jan 13th, 2012 @ 8:15am

    เกมส์นกโกรธ

    เกมส์นกโกรธ ช่วยไข่ของคุณก&# 3621;ับมากจากการขโ$ 17;ยไปของหมูหัวเข ;ียวโดยผ่านด่าน& #3605;่าง มีนกโกรธเพิ่มเ&# 3586;้ามาเมื่อผ่าน$ 04;่านต่างๆ ไป สู้ๆเค้าเหล่าน&# 3585;โกรธ ขอให้สนุกกับเก&# 3617;ส์นกโกรธ
    เล่นเ&# 3585;มส์นกโกรธ

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Concerned crafter, Jan 17th, 2012 @ 3:58am

    Sopa affects us all

    As we all know Steve Jobs just died a few months ago. Apparently we all couldn't have Internet without him because if you haven't noticed it's started to hit the fan. Steve Jobs ideal world as I perceived it was to have a global interface that worked with all systems advanced or simple. And it seems that with his passing the prophecy of 2012 has begun. Now maybe it will pass today and maybe it won't personally I like to think it won't for the simple reason that it will be reproposed in December and all of the worlds most successful companies will be seeing each other until the world is united by one company that has the free lands most successful lawyer and the world is reduced to next to nothing. I watch southpark and I don't know if any of you have ever seen the episode where the internet gets shut down and it all goes to $hit. Go Jared Polis! You've got support from some of the worlds best company's!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This