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Report: ESA Spent $190,000 On PIPA Support?

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
ESA, PIPA, SOPA

Report: ESA Spent 0,000 On PIPA Support?

When SOPA and Protect IP threatened to provide major US corporations with the power to cripple, shut down and block websites without observing due process (even affecting international sites like us), you might have expected the Entertainment Software Association to put its foot down and fight the proposal tooth and nail. After all, the ESA is the premier trade association for US software publishers and developers, and includes many of the biggest companies as its members as well as running E3 and the ESRB. A vigilant and valiant watchdog, you might assume, but they actually supported the bill despite the majority of is members speaking out against the legislation... and have actively spent vast sums of membership fees on lobbying politicians to do the same.

Kotaku has uncovered financial records stating that the ESA has spent $190,000 on two firms paid to lobby politicians about PIPA and SOPA last summer, and while their stance isn't explicitly made clear, their overt support of the bill suggests that they were almost certainly lobbying for it due to its anti-piracy applications. Is this a good use of membership fees... collected from companies who actively refused to support them? At least the White House recognised SOPA for the draconian precedent it truly is (in its current state, that is).

I might try and elaborate on this bizarre and insulting situation in an article later this week, but as far as I'm concerned, the ESA needs to be taken to task for its support of legislation that could have crippled the very industry it claims to represent. By us journalists, by its members, and by you.

Add a comment2 comments
hurrakan  Jan. 17, 2012 at 16:00

Is there much we can do, considering it's a US thing?

I was reading about Lamar Smith on Wikipedia. That guy, truly, does NOT get it. He's killing the world! Why do they keep voting for him?!

JonLester  Jan. 17, 2012 at 16:14

Is there much we can do, considering it's a US thing?

I was reading about Lamar Smith on Wikipedia. That guy, truly, does NOT get it. He's killing the world! Why do they keep voting for him?!


Good point. SOPA and PIPA are definitely US things, you're absolutely right, but international sites like us would be firewalled off from US readers and dropped from American search engines if the bills pass (not to mention that it would be a horrible precedent). We'd also like to show some solidarity to our journalistic peers and developers who would be badly affected by the legislation.

The ESA, however, typically represents the games industry as whole, especially since events such as E3 have a global influence and international companies like Sony, Microsoft, THQ and Take-Two are members.

Is there much we can do? Probably not, to be honest. But we can certainly ask some searching questions and help publicise reports like this.

Last edited by JonLester, Jan. 17, 2012 at 16:28

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