ESA backs off SOPA

Game industry trade group rescinds support for SOPA and PIPA, says it has concerns for "unintended consequences" related to proposals.

Earlier today, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) sponsor Rep. Lamar Smith renounced support for the controversial piece of legislation he created, essentially laying the matter to rest. That move came just days after the House Oversight Committee chairman said that the legislation would not be put to a vote until there was consensus over the issue. While the Entertainment Software Association had been a vocal supporter of SOPA, it pulled an about-face today.

The ESA has withdrawn its support for SOPA and PIPA.

This afternoon, the ESA--the body responsible for putting on the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo--issued a statement saying it no longer supports SOPA or the Senate counterpart, the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).

"From the beginning, ESA has been committed to the passage of balanced legislation to address the illegal theft of intellectual property found on foreign rogue sites. Although the need to address this pervasive threat to our industry's creative investment remains, concerns have been expressed about unintended consequences stemming from the current legislative proposals," reads a line from the statement.

"Accordingly, we call upon Congress, the Obama Administration, and stakeholders to refocus their energies on producing a solution that effectively balances both creative and technology interests. As an industry of innovators and creators, we understand the importance of both technological innovation and content protection and are committed to working with all parties to encourage a balanced solution."

The ESA now joins President Obama, as well as a string of gaming entities that have expressed ill feelings toward SOPA and PIPA. These companies include Epic Games, Bungie Studios, Riot Games, Runic Games, Mojang, Red 5 Studios, and others.

Companies that supported SOPA--including the National Football League (NFL) and GameSpot parent company CBS--argued that it offered necessary protection to content creators. Opponents of the bill, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, argued that SOPA infringed upon First Amendment rights and would ultimately deprive the Internet of non-infringing content.

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