You may recall that last year TheEnigmaticT was interviewed by Destructoid about SOPA and PIPA. We played things a bit close to the chest in that interview (TheEnigmaticT comes by his nickname honestly) because we are a Polish company and politics, legislation, and government actions of other countries aren’t generally something we feel we should comment on.
But the more we see that it looks like the US Congress may pass SOPA or PIPA, the more we feel that we need to speak out. It’s impossible to say what impact that legislation could have on a global company like GOG.com, but we have a platform that can reach out to many gamers who will be effected by this, so we need to let you know about what SOPA and PIPA are and why, if you’re American, you should be worried about them.
What are SOPA and PIPA? These are two different bills that have a stated goal of providing the US government and various IP rightsholders with tools to curb piracy and copyright infringement online. Many web giants, including Amazon, Google, Twitter, Reddit, and eBay have stressed how worried they feel about SOPA and PIPA, because while it is a method to reduce piracy and infringement, it is probably not a good one.
Will SOPA/PIPA work? It might, depending on your definition of “work.” It will put the power over what content is available on the Internet very firmly into the hands of people who are rights-holders--or who claim to be. It will restrict the scope of legitimate content allowed on websites in ways we probably don’t even know yet. A few examples of what might change if SOPA is passed: it could kill streaming of game footage or even game-chat, radically alter how your favorite user-generated content websites--including the GOG.com forums--function, and finally, it may well undermine the basic structure of the Internet.
Will SOPA/PIPA stop piracy? No. SOPA works in a fashion similar to DRM, if you ask us: it only will have an effect on people who are, by and large, honest consumers. Pirates who torrent via P2P methods will not be inconvenienced in the least by SOPA and PIPA; people who post “let’s play” walkthroughs of video games on YouTube, though, may be.
GOG.com is opposed to piracy and copyright infringement, but we know that there are good way to try and reduce piracy and bad ones. GOG.com will always oppose anti-piracy methods that threaten user privacy and freedom. We will always stay DRM-free and apply ‘same game-same price’ policy. We will always put trust in our users as the best method of fighting piracy.
SOPA is not the way to fix the problem of piracy. If you agree with us, don’t just send a tweet or shake your head in anger. Do something. Contact your congressperson or representative and tell them in no uncertain terms that you oppose this bill. There’s a chance that SOPA won’t be as bad as organizations like the EFF and Wikimedia foundations say it is, but you only have one chance to stop this before it happens.