SOPA blackout: JAW, Oddworld, RPS, Gama, SavyGamer protest

By Johnny Cullen, Wednesday, 18 January 2012 09:41 GMT

Oddworld developer Just Add Water and the Oddworld website, Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Gamasutra and SavyGamer have all blacked out in protest to SOPA this morning.

RPS‘s John Walker announced last night on the site it was to join the protest today, which has seen several big websites, including Wikipedia, Mozilla and Google, take part in some form.

A message now greets users attempting to access the site, along with a video explaining the situation surrounding the SOPA and PIPA acts.

“We’re sorry if this frustrates or angers you. Really. But it’s nothing compared to what could happen were the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act to succeed in the US,” it says on the RPS homepage.

“Under those new rules, a single errant comment left by a reader could see RPS invisible in the United States, removed from search engines, ad revenue frozen, and thus destroyed. And despite Monday’s news that SOPA is temporarily shelved, PIPA is still planned to be rushed through, and just as dangerous.”

Full service will resume tomorrow at 9.00am.

US trade publication Gamasutra has also vowed to go dark from 8.00am PST (4.00pm GMT) until 8pm PST (4.00am GMT), with EIC Kris Graft saying that, while noting the news on Monday that the vote on the SOPA and PIPA bills would be delayed until a consensus is found, both were still a “clumsy attempt” at removing copyright and trademark infringement.

“The bill is still all about internet censorship that’s akin to the kind used in countries like Iran and China. For our non-U.S. readers who think this won’t affect you, think of how much of the internet’s power lies in the U.S., and the kind of precedent this could set for other governments,” he said in a post on the site.

“SOPA is a particular threat to video game companies and their fans who partake in user-generated content, such as mods, videos and screenshots. In general, SOPA would place a chilling effect upon many ways that game companies interact with and foster their communities, and judging how the games industry has been taking its products online and worldwide for years, and positioning games as services, that’s a bad thing.”

Bargain site SavyGamer, headed by IndieGames contributor Lewie Procter, has also gone down in protest. Destructoid had already vowed last week it would also go dark.

On the game development side, the website of UK developer Just Add Water, who’ve been recently working on the Oddworld series including a PS3 release of Stranger’s Wrath, has been also taken as a stand against both SOPA and PIPA. The official Oddworld website has been pulled also in response.

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