No, Sony Electronics, Nintendo And EA Have NOT Publicly Changed Their Position On SOPA

from the come-on-people dept

It’s amazing how a little bad reporting turns into a big story. Late last week, we saw a report on Business Insider, by Matt Lynley, claiming that Nintendo, EA and Sony Electronics had dropped support of SOPA. However, the reporting on this story is highly questionable. It was based on a report from November from Joystiq about how those three companies supported the bill. But, if you read the actual article on Joystiq, you’ll see that it notes that these three companies had not specifically come out in favor of SOPA, but rather had signed onto a letter from the US Chamber of Commerce (or, rather, its front group, the Global IP Center) which was sent before SOPA was introduced. While it does urge Congress to support something like SOPA, it was not a direct endorsement of SOPA itself.

Now, jump forward to last week. A number of lists have been put out listing the companies who supposedly support SOPA — but many of the lists were made up by combining two separate lists. One was the official list from the House Judiciary site, which does, in fact, list out companies who have explicitly said they support SOPA. The other… was that letter that the Global IP Center sent. So, here’s the problem. It appears that Lynley just checked the list from the House Judiciary Committee… and saw that Sony Electronics, EA and Nintendo were not on that list… and decided they must have quietly removed themselves from the list.

Here’s the problem: those three companies were apparently never on that list. They were on the other list.

You can see an older version of the House Judiciary Committee list of SOPA supporters here. Note that it has GoDaddy on it, as well as all those law firms who demanded removal from the list. This was the original list that the Judiciary Committee came out with. You know what you’ll see? Absolutely no mention of EA, Sony Electronics or Nintendo.

And yet… a ton of news sites have picked up on the BI story and written their own versions, claiming that those three companies have quietly dropped their SOPA support:

Yet, as far as I can tell, none of these three companies has made any statement suggesting they’ve changed their position at all. Perhaps they did change their position, but it’s not because they’re missing from the House Judiciary list… because they were never on that list as far as we can tell. It’s kind of amazing to me that people kept demanding specific statements from GoDaddy to prove they’d really changed their position on SOPA but eagerly accept that these three companies have changed their position. It’s really quite amazing to me that so many publications (many well respected) all seemed to key off this one, highly questionable, Business Insider report, which was based on someone who never checked the earlier list, and assumed that it must be accurate.

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Companies: ea, nintendo, sony electronics

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Comments on “No, Sony Electronics, Nintendo And EA Have NOT Publicly Changed Their Position On SOPA”

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Mike C. (profile) says:

Easy to see it was a bogus story...

If they’d bothered to stop and think for a second, they would have realized they needed to research the story a bit. After all, why would Sony corporate allow the Sony Electronics division to withdraw support while the various music and movie divisions are still wholeheartedly in support.

Nothing like a rush to be first and yet getting it all wrong…lol.

Bengie says:

Re: Re:

South Park reference:

Mitch: W-we’re not sure what exactly is going on inside the town of Beaverton, uh Tom, but we’re reporting that there’s looting, raping, and yes, even acts of cannibalism.

Tom: My God, you’ve, you’ve actually seen people looting, raping and eating each other?

Mitch: No, no, we haven’t actually seen it Tom, we’re just reporting it.

Jeremy Lyman (profile) says:

Mixed signals

I don’t understand how any of these lists can be believed. It seems like they are composed of major media corporations, redundant subsidiaries, and companies who either responded to an non-specific survey or a trade organization who misrepresented their support.

I was pretty pissed off to see Vibram throwing in their support, only to hear later that they had no desire to support SOPA.

D says:

Being more critical of Godaddy seems justified to me, as they are in the domain name business.

The other companies have historically tried all sorts of DRM control in the past, really no surprises here. And the game industry has comparitively just learned to roll with the punches in regards to piracy, I doubt that they would do nearly as much lobbying. But they are also not at the epicenter of SOPA’s cause and effect nightmare.

WysiWyg (profile) says:

Harder to boycott...

My first thought was that EA and the others would be much harder to boycott than GoDaddy, and perhaps everyone is jumping on this story because it means that they don’t have to feel guilty about not boycotting EA, Sony and Nintendo.

(Why would it be harder? Since there are tons of companies out there that offer the same service as GoDaddy, but none the offer the exact same products as EA, Sony and Nintendo.)

Viln (profile) says:

Re: Harder to boycott...

Game companies have been slowly but steadily breaking us in to DRM and unreasonable requirements for several years now, to the point where consumers are now more accepting of something that would have been labeled absolutely outrageous a few years ago. A very vulgar analogy comes to mind, which I’ll refrain from sharing. We’re at the point now where you need a stable high speed connection, forced registration and membership to sites or services you don’t want, and one or several background processes competing for CPU (and often popping up ads).. all to play an offline SINGLE-PLAYER game.

There are only two ways to express displeasure with companies like EA… find a way to pirate their games or rent them from Gamefly. In either case, when profits start slipping these large publishing companies, having completed the acquisition of smaller more innovative and actually useful development shops, will turtle up and start producing fewer games, spend less effort trying to progress the industry, and fall back to making this year’s iteration of their list of tried and true franchises. And you get another couple of sports games and shooters that don’t evolve beyond throwing more pixels and better hardware at the problem.

SomeGuy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Harder to boycott...

I don’t think I understand your argument.

You start off by saying that Big Game Companies have been boiling us like frogs, which is generally true. But then you seem to say we have no choice because The Big Guys have already eaten all the smaller publishers, and if we don’t buy their DRM’d crap they’ll just stop producing anything.

That simply can’t be true. Either people refuse to buy sub-par or DRM’d games and The Big Guys die or bend their knee to the Consumer, or people don’t refuse to buy the same and effectively reward The Big Guys. If their response to dying slowly is to “turtle up” and die quickly, then it’s only a matter of time before someone else steps into the void. Video Games will survive even if Nintendo, Sony, EA, and the rest all die today.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Harder to boycott...

You think that either boycott, pirating or buying has any effect on these control freaks, let me tell you, it hasn’t.

Their thoughtprocess is like the following:

Game has DRM is a flop/sucks and is pirated: More DRM because but, but Piracy! not regarding the fact that people all over are already doing negative reviews and generally hate it.

Game has DRM is a flop/sucks and is not pirated: More DRM because but, but Piracy! regardless of the fact that people can’t even be bothered to sacrifice bandwith for it.

Game is a hit and pirated wildly: More DRM because but, but Piracy!

Game is a hit Piracy barely traceable (maybe large multiplyer aspect or other reasons): More DRM because OMG it works, but with more DRM we get more $$.

It generally doesn’t matter what happens the call for more DRM will always be voiced because of the misguided reasoning above. A wide ranged boycott will *not* help because the lack of sales will still be interpreted as Piracy, even if people are voicing the real reason.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Harder to boycott...

There is a third.

Find free legal alternatives, I’m an old gamer, so I still like the old games best.

The fourth.

Get a game engine and build your own universe, it is not that hard and a lot of people are creating communities focused on that kind of thing.

For the old people who already lived their lifes, and got found memories about some games, piracy may be the route, but for younger generations they can start something new here, they could become the story tellers, they could become the treasure hunters and live it.

anonymous says:

according to a report on Ars, all three of these companies are still actively supporting SOPA through their membership of The Entertainment Software Association, the being or not being on the list mentioned in the post is irrelevant. the same thing needs to happen to these and the rest of the companies that support SOPA as happened to GoDaddy. only when there is mass public condemnation will the attitude change.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

…only when there is mass public condemnation…

According to the Census Bureau, there are about 2 and 1/3 million people of voting age in the U.S. Of those, about 60% are registered to vote, and about 40% to 50% actually vote. So, roughly, we have about 100 million likely voters, plus or minus.

Right now, it looks like about 2 million people in the US oppose SOPA. The rest probably haven’t even heard of it.

E. Zachary Knight (profile) says:

This is one of the things that really bugged me over the weekend. I have come to regard this as Techdirt reflecting on my outlook on tech news. But I never understood why anyone would believe that any of these companies (aside from Sony) actually supported SOPA to begin with when all they said was that they supported a SOPA like law. All this before SOPA was even introduced.

As the AC above said though, the ESA is still listed as a supporter of SOPA and these three companies are members of that organization. So I doubt that they would be allowing the ESA to support SOPA if they actually oppose it or dropped support for it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

So I doubt that they would be allowing the ESA to support SOPA if they actually oppose it or dropped support for it.

You just aren’t thinking cleverly. What better way to dodge a PR bullet than to say a bunch of things against SOPA while still funneling money to it through some other channel? If you believe words without actions then you’ll be taken in every time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I am a bit disappointed in Mike on this one. I have been a TD reader for better part of 4 years and this a rare time I think he is even trying be fair and assuming the worst and is spreading FUD. Most times he at least has a nod of a comment to balance things out.

This time he is pointing out the lack of an expressly written rejection statement by these companies is not enough to counter the lack of an expressly written support statement.

In other words he is saying your guilt by association and lack of comment makes you an evil company.

That is almost like saying that millions of people (including Mike) agree with Sprint using CarrierIQ’s software to gather data from customers just because the didn’t say something or change phone companies. Of course Mike is one of the few that is ok since he actually said something… but was it enough if he didn’t change carriers?

Disclosure: I don’t like SOPA it frightens me. I do think those companies should come out against it.

I just don’t think Mike is helping the conversation with the tone of this article.

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