Firefall Devs Speak And Act Against SOPA

Firefall developers Red 5 are going further than simply expressing their denunciation of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in words. On January 18th, the studio will close the Firefall beta and website for 24 hours in a show of protest. More drastically, the developers are also refusing to show the extremely promising free-to-play multiplayer shooter at E3 this year because of the organiser’s support of SOPA. Commendable. More below.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which puts on E3, has stated that the “industry needs effective remedies to address this specific problem, and we support the House and Senate proposals to achieve this objective”.

Red 5 call on other studios who have stated their opposition to SOPA to let the ESA know they are “ashamed” that it is backing the act. With big names like Epic having already spoken against the bill it would be interesting to see ESA’s response if more anti-SOPA companies pledged to boycott E3 unless they were willing to rethink their stance.

Red 5’s statement to Shacknews follows:

“Red 5 Studios is joining Reddit in protest of SOPA by going dark on January 18. We will be taking down our website, community site and Firefall beta for 24 hours on the 18th.
We are extremely disappointed in this misguided legislation. We are also ashamed of the ESA for supporting a bill which is clearly not in the best interests of gamers or the game industry.
This bill, and it’s sister bill, Protect IP, will shut down live streaming, shout casting, user generated content and have a chilling effect on game innovation and social media.

Most of all, it hurts the smaller game companies, who will not have the legal resources or lobbying presence to protect themselves from unwarranted shutdown.
We issue a call to all our industry peers, including developers, publishers and game press, to join us in letting the ESA know they do not represent our views on this issue, and strongly oppose SOPA and PIPA.”

More on this as it comes of course and here’s all our coverage of the SOPA issue to date.


  1. Abundant_Suede says:

    Good for them! Although, I think the E3 boycott is a much more effective show of protest than shutting down your game for 24 hours, which seems like it would only inconvenience your players. I guess the idea is that you’re hoping players are interested enough in your reasons for turning off their game to inform themselves on the subject.

    • Tyshalle says:

      That’d be my assumption. I would hope that instead of simply having their website gone they’d just replace it with a simple page informing everyone why they’re doing what they’re doing, and what the fans can do to help.

    • Masked Dave says:

      Also I think the idea is to build momentum behind the movement. If more people sign up to “Go Dark” on the 18th in protest then it’ll be seen by a lot of people and probably make major news.

  2. InternetBatman says:

    Awesome. I hope all the developers get some probably needed rest in the blackout.

  3. Crainey says:

    Companies need to be careful, I hope they make it sure why their doing this protest. They need to have a video or something in place of the website that demonstrates the problems with SOPA so people who come are angry at SOPA and not the companies. Notch has stated on Twitter they won’t be doing a shutdown but rather a “free” day, no doubt RPS will post on this.
    I think it’s time for RPS to put together a list of all the companies going black on the 18th.

  4. westyfield says:

    In other SOPA news, Lamar Smith, the guy who authored the bill, violated copyright on his campaign website.

  5. voidburn says:

    @Abundant_suede The 24 hours shutdown happens in coordination with Reddit, which also will black-out their services in protest. That’s the reason behind it, and will honestly compel those affected to have a look into the matter, if they didn’t already.

  6. Maldomel says:

    Good to see this protest is still going on, with more and more people joining the fight.

  7. Kaira- says:

    Also, Good Old Games are against.
    link to

  8. Vexing Vision says:

    I applaud the devs.

    I will also ensure to support them.

  9. NR says:

    I don’t know… I mean, I appreciate that SOPA is a bad thing that needs to be stopped, but aren’t these blackouts essentially just preaching to the choir? The sites that seem to be orchestrating these blackouts seem to be predominantly made up of relatively tech-savvy young’uns who are already against it in the first place. It just doesn’t seem likely to win over the people you need (the older, slightly more Luddite masses who don’t quite understand the dangers of the bill) in order to effectively make a point…

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Perhaps, but imagine if Google took their service down for a day.

      They’ve said they’re against it, so they should join in.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      They need Google and Wikipedia to both go black on the same day. I’m pretty sure SOPA would be dead the day after. Google probably wouldn’t do it unless Microsoft also agreed to go black, otherwise they would just be handing market share to Bing.

      Wikipedia still hasn’t committed to a time to black out, the last I heard.

    • diamondmx says:

      I agree that google should go dark for this event, it will be harsh to spend a day without google, but everyone who uses the internet needs to become aware what’s going on.

    • Ovno says:

      Even if google just made the search page and perhaps a page that appears before you get your results explaining that they are against it, then it might help wthout handing microsoft market share…

      Not that I would ever used bing…

    • Jacques says:

      Google have a responsibility to their Adwords clients though. Going dark would put them in a very tough situation, however much they disagree with SOPA.

    • westyfield says:

      Oh shit, I really hope Wikipedia don’t go black. It’s exam season and I would crash and burn if Wikipedia were not there to help me.

    • bonjovi says:

      Where will Bing get it’s search results from?

  10. Lone Gunman says:

    People Power!

  11. Astatine says:

    I’m impressed. Everyone should be doing this. (RPS, are you?)

    • Masked Dave says:

      I really hope they are. Would be a bit hypocritical to call for others to do so and not do it yourselves.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      They black out individual comments every so often in protest.

    • MondSemmel says:

      It’s really mostly relevant for US websites, though. Although RPS is technically a .com site, so I guess it would make some sense?

  12. cyrenic says:

    A lawyer from Riot Games has a big post on reddit with some links you can use to easily send a form letter to your local congressmen (if you live in the U.S.): link to

    Engaging their gaming community to lobby congress is probably more useful than just a blackout.

    • Vizari says:

      If a lot of pages do a blackout, and link those blackouts clearly towards the protest against sopa, then a great many more people will find out what sopa is about.

      Obviously the blackout itself is of pretty much no use. The use should be in educating more affected people, who in turn might do more useful things.

    • lasikbear says:

      Riot’s CEO also posted on the forums against it, and the post shows up as the first item on the games launcher and main screens.

      Also the 4th or 5th post in the thread is from US Congressman Jared Polis, who got a special forum icon and title, speaking against it.

      link to

      They haven’t decided on a blackout or not, but they are at least putting the issue right in front of the entire playerbase.

  13. Kandon Arc says:

    In related news: link to

  14. koziello says:

    Long time reader, first time poster. Well, a person who posts, anyway.

    Let me skip the part where I say good things about RPS (many of them) and I’ll just say that I’m very happy to see that lots of you are concerned with new legislation in US. Perhaps many of readers are US citizens and hence, they are particularly curious what happens to these legislative projects.

    I, on the other hand, am humble citizen of one of the countries of EU and I just discovered that a similair act WAS, in fact, already introduced by EU’s institutions. It is called “IPRED directive.” So, I guess, what I want to ask is, do you people know anything about this? Are we (Europeans) already under such provisions?

    Here is a link to where I found news about IPRED —>link to

    Good hunting,

  15. RaveTurned says:

    For UK-based readers, a friend of mine noticed this e-petition calling on HMgov’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office to condemn SOPA & PIPA. I figure signing it can’t hurt. link to

  16. Malibu Stacey says:

    Just got an e-mail from Tucows saying they’re joining the blackout -> link to

  17. Nytoc says:

    From Nvidia facebook page:

    Nvidia does not support SOPA:

    link to

  18. yutt says:

    Good for them!

    Interesting, when considering Red 5 Studios are owned by The9, a Chinese firm. Chinese Internet censorship makes SOPA look downright progressive. Hope The9 is doing as much as is in their power to address the censorship issues in their own nation.

    Some of this starts to feel like various multi-national corporations looking out for their own self-interests rather than any coordinated desire to protect civil freedoms. I guess I’ll take what I can get.

  19. po says:

    24 hours of downtime is one thing, but you know what I’d like to see?

    Google, Facebook, Twitter et al denying service to anyone in support of SOPA.

    Let’s see how politicians campaign when the major sources on the internet redirect to a site detailing SOPA, instead of their campaign pages.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Oh man, that’d be epic!

    • Devan says:

      No, that would itself be censorship and go against the principles of Net Neutrality, which are some of the same reasons to oppose SOPA. That would be pretty hypocritical.

      Anyways, I’m really glad to see so many companies publicly declaring opposition and doing it in a level-headed but hopefully effective way.

  20. Campaigner says:

    Really dumb to boycott E3. It’s too important to boycott.

    • Vinraith says:

      E3 is literally only important because people think it’s important. It might be interesting, actually, to see a separate gathering of SOPA-opposed developers. I know which show I’d give a crap about, and considering what a dire threat to games journalism SOPA is I suspect I know which show would get better coverage.

    • MultiVaC says:

      Right, everyone knows that boycotts work best when you only boycott things nobody cares about.