Disunion within the ESA over SOPA

Disunion within the ESA over SOPA

By Rob Crossley

January 6th 2012 at 10:39AM

Capcom and Epic divided on the controversial piracy bill

Two prominent members of the Entertainment Software Association have opposing views to SOPA, despite the trade group itself in strong support of the controversial anti-piracy bill.

A forum post by Epic Games claims that the studio “does not support the current version of SOPA”.

It added: “Epic Games supports efforts that would stop overseas websites profiting from pirating our games, but we have to do that in a way that's compatible with freedom of speech and due process of law.”

Capcom, meanwhile, issued a statement claiming “the Entertainment Software Association represents us on these matters”.

The ESA itself is under some pressure for its firm support for the SOPA bill. This week the trade body said that SOPA’s principal objective – to curb excessive levels of online piracy – deserves industry support.

“Rogue websites, those singularly devoted to profiting from their blatant illegal piracy, restrict demand for legitimate video game products and services, thereby costing jobs,” the organisation told Develop.

Amid claims that the SOPA bill could suppress free speech and creativity within the entertainment industries, the ESA argued that it “understands the importance of both technological innovation and content protection, and does not believe the two are mutually exclusive”. This claim appears to echo the view that rampant content piracy forces games publishers to restrict investment to mainstream and ‘safer’ projects.

Independent data released this week suggested that the five most pirated PC games in 2011 were illicitly downloaded more than 18 million times in total. The most pirated of them all, Crysis 2, is thought to have been illegally downloaded around 4 million times.