ESA re-affirms SOPA support, mindful of “concerns”

Tuesday, 3 January 2012 17:48 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

US lobby group ESA has issued a statement re-affirming its support of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) bill currently floating around in the US House and Senate, following the removal of EA, Nintendo and Sony from a list of companies which specifically support the move.

Said ESA: “As an industry of innovators and creators, we understand the importance of both technological innovation and content protection, and do not believe the two are mutually exclusive.

“Rogue websites – those singularly devoted to profiting from their blatant illegal piracy – restrict demand for legitimate video game products and services, thereby costing jobs. Our industry needs effective remedies to address this specific problem, and we support the House and Senate proposals to achieve this objective.

“We are mindful of concerns raised about a negative impact on innovation. We look forward to working with the House and Senate, and all interested parties, to find the right balance and define useful remedies to combat willful wrongdoers that do not impede lawful product and business model innovation.”

The statement follows a developing story earlier today, which noted that, despite reports over the holidays that EA, Nintendo and Sony have dropped support for SOPA, the firms have only been removed from a list of official supporters compiled by the House Judiciary Committee and are still members of ESA (via The Raw Story and Blue).

ESA’s anti-piracy stance is similar to that of the movie industry’s MPAA and the music industry’s RIAA.

ESA has a piracy monitoring division, and lobbies Washington representatives each year on behalf of gaming companies that are members of the association. ESA has said previously it supports the bill.

However, not all large tech and gaming firms are completely behind the bill. Back in November, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) which includes members such as Apple, Microsoft and Adobe, requested the bill be altered in a way which would fight copyright infringement without censoring freedom of speech. BSA president Robert Holleyman admitted SOPA needs work and “valid and important questions have been raised” regarding the bill.

Meanwhile, hackivist group Anonymous has said it plans to target Sony over its support of the bill, but intends to do it in a manner that will avoid the public backlash it received over PSNgate last year.

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