League Of Legends Rally Against SOPA

    January 12, 2012

One thing that can be said about the SOPA/PIPA bills is that it’s been effective at galvanizing factions of protesters of all types to come together against the them. Now it appears that the gamer legion is stepping into the fray.

Riot Games, makers of the real-time strategy game League of Legends, joined the concert of opposition to SOPA/PIPA yesterday in a statement posted on the League of Legends website. While SOPA has been detailed before with how it will affect other aspects of online activity, this is a notable endorsement of the anti-SOPA movement from the land of gamers.

In the post, Riot Games are clear to point out that, while they are opposed to online piracy, the current form of SOPA leaves much to be concerned about with how it “threatens any website that features user-generated content.” The author of the post, Ryze, goes on to list specific ways in which League of Legends will be impacted:

  • Kills streaming. If any single streamer plays copyrighted music (or alt tabs into a movie or other owned content) on their stream, there is a significant risk of the entire streaming service being taken down. In some cases, it could even result in criminal penalties for the streamer.
  • Threatens independent content creation. Services we all use to create and share League of Legends related content, such as YouTube, Reddit, DeviantArt, streaming websites such as Own3d and Twitch, and more would be at risk of shutting down or greatly restricting the scope of legitimate content allowed on their sites.
  • Attacks our community. Aspects of our service such as the official forums and potentially even in-game chat, could be taken down or have their features reduced based on user behavior.
  • Other harmful effects. SOPA/PIPA undermine established intellectual property legislation like the DMCA, raise serious constitutional free speech issues, and could even compromise the basic security infrastructure of the internet.
  • The post also includes a link to an Ask Me Almost Anything (AMAA) on Reddit from one of Riot Games Layers, wherein he is answered questions about Riot’s position yesterday. In the thread, their attorney says that while they’re not exactly included a full blackout of Riot Games on January 18th, they are pursuing further anti-SOPA actions that he described as “public-facing” although some of it will be “more calculated to maximize legislative impact against this bill.” Ultimately, he says, “We’re not just saying ‘we hate SOPA!’ and going away.”

    Following Riot Games statement, a press release was issued by Change.org this morning in regard to the 100,000+ gamers and “concerned Internet users” who are calling on Electronic Arts to publicly oppose SOPA. So far, 112K people have added their name to the petition (their goal is to achieve 150,000 signatures). From the release:

    “As much as I agree that copyright law needs to be enforced, this legislation represents a blatant trespass of corporate lobbyists upon small businesses, and I cannot support it, nor can I endorse anyone who does,”said Shashank Katsurirangan, a fan of EA’s sports games and Battlefield and Command & Conquer franchises. “As a passionate gamer, I have a lot of respect for independent game designers who share and advertise their games through file and video sharing sites like YouTube and RapidShare. Also, as an amateur musician, my primary outlet for sharing my work is through free media like YouTube. SOPA allows for consumers to be denied access to these sites upon detection of any copyright infringing material, inflicting severe collateral damage upon independent artists and game designers whose only publicity comes from free media sites.”

    EA has not issued a statement concerning the petition at this time. It remains to be seen if petitions like these can convince some of the major Internet players (such as the Googles and the Facebooks) to come off of the sidelines and take a more active role in opposing SOPA.