After a lot of pestering since the SOPA/PIPA news began to boil over, TIGA – the UK’s trade association that represents the UK games industry – has come out against SOPA (and presumably in turn, PIPA). This is good news, as the developer-representing body is one of the UK equivalents to the US Entertainment Software Association, who Kotaku revealed yesterday are not only supporters of the bill, but had heavily invested in it to the tune of $190,000. And that’s just in the second and third quarters of last year. They’re refusing to say what they’ve spent more recently. But TIGA, who are clearly a far smaller body with an awful lot less money, are not going along with this. In fact, they describe the bills as “inhibiting innovation” and “a sledgehammer to crack a nut”.
Dr. Richard Wilson, TIGA’s CEO, gave a statement saying,
“The worry is that this legislation would expose online games businesses to damaging legal action, while inhibiting innovation and leading to over-caution online. Videogame companies could have to spend time and money analysing the behaviour of their users.
“TIGA understands the need to clamp down on rogue websites – those which blatantly make money from piracy and therefore restrict the profit margins of developers and digital publishers – but it believes SOPA would be a sledgehammer cracking a nut.”
The body also included words from Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard, who explained that the bills would create a “national censorship firewall for American internet users”, explaining that this could “crush the community element of online gaming and could result in a huge lack of freedom of speech, creativity and opinion sharing”.
These are pretty clear statements, and it’s great to see the body defending gamers and developers.
But what about UKIE, the direct equivalent to the ESA? Well, they’ve fudged. Despite a headline that claims “UKIE comments on SOPA and announces industry debate to explore ways of positively building on the power of our products and services for game makers and players alike”, the statement goes on to not comment on SOPA at all. Instead it says it plans to host industry debates,
“to explore ways of positively building on the power of our products and services for game makers and players alike. This will happen in the coming weeks and will extend beyond our membership to all those involved in our innovative industry.”
One could infer from this that they’re not supporters of SOPA/PIPA, as they certainly avoid saying they are, and seem to be suggesting alternative solutions. However, they also don’t say that they’re against it, and we’re going to continue pressing them for a clear response. Unfortunately, they’ve flat-out ignored our enquiries so far.