from the mostly-neutral dept
With the news that the ESA supports SOPA and more and more gaming companies and related organizations coming out with their stances on the topic, I have been reaching out to some organizations that have yet to make a public stance on SOPA. One of these organizations is the PC Gaming Alliance, a trade group dedicated to building up the PC gaming market. With all the piracy that many companies complain about and their efforts to stop it using DRM, online authentication and other forms of validating a legit game, SOPA must seem like a godsend. However, the PCGA states that it is “mostly neutral” on SOPA and PIPA. I was asked to quote its whole statement to avoid being taken out of context, so here it is in its entirety.
Our Stance: The PC Gaming Alliance’s position on these two pieces of legislation is MOSTLY neutral, on both pieces of legislation in their current iterations for several reasons:
1) These are both highly contentious forms of legislation; and it’s simply too early to tell what the true impacts & implications are really going to be.
2) Several PCGA members belong to other organizations that either are in support of, or opposed to both or either Acts.
3) These Acts are, for the most part, in their infancy. Several indicators point towards both, or either, of them being overturned, being heavily modified from their current instantiation, or even outright not manifesting at all. This makes it difficult at best to endorse either of the Acts in their current forms.
Our Position Statement: The PC Gaming Alliance is always in strong support of protecting Intellectual Property, reducing counterfeit goods, and taking steps towards reducing or eliminating all forms of Piracy. To that end; we’re remaining cautiously optimistic that these 2 pieces of legislation will accomplish the goals they’re trying to tackle in way that doesn’t result in encroaching on other freedoms, or create additional grievances for the consumers and developers they’re designed to protect. The PCGA will continue to closely monitor developments on these two pieces of legislation and we’ll likely take a more proactive stance based on the outcomes and desires of the majority of our members that we represent in the near future.
(Pres. PC Gaming Alliance)
As Matt pointed out in points numbers one and three, with all the controversy over SOPA and PIPA and their questionable fate in both the House and Senate, this is probably the best stance (short of out right rejecting them both) that any interested party could take. I am glad to see them recognize that fact and that they are willing to stand by it. While Lamar Smith seems confident in SOPA’s passage and the perceived lack of opposition, the reality is that SOPA is far from a done deal.
As for point two, this is a wholly different take from the ESA. The ESA has taken the liberty of supporting SOPA for all its members, regardless of the individual member’s positions. If we look at the members of the PCGA, we can see that we already have a small variety of outlooks on the legislation. For one, we have Capcom that is happy following the ESA’s lead. We have also learned that Epic rejects SOPA in its current form and 38 Studios does as well. So with this early conflict of opinions, it is probably best that the PCGA does not take a firm stance just yet.
However, I would take to task the idea that SOPA and PIPA are salvageable and are anything resembling laws that do what the PCGA hopes they will while not encroaching on anyone’s freedoms. Even the OPEN act that has been introduced as an alternative has its own problems. I remain firm in my ideal that any problem with piracy is: First, a business model problem. Companies should do all they can do to mitigate piracy by providing the level of service their customers desire. Valve has shown this is possible and still make a profit. Second, a connection problem. Many customers feel disconnected from the developers of the games they make. If SOPA passes, that disconnect will only become worse as fans of games would be unsure of just how they can express their enjoyment of and excitement for games without being targeted under SOPA’s enforcement provisions. Let’s hope that more companies take such a “cautiously optimistic” point of view on SOPA while still remaining open to the idea that it may not be the solution they truly need.