Yesterday was a very interesting day. It marked the first ever anti-SOPA protest to be held online. There was a lot of great stuff happening. I wish I was able to document a lot of it, but sadly between work and sick family, I was only able to watch the protest.
The big things were that sites like Reddit, and Wikipedia were completely blacked out in Protest. Google had censored its logo and was pointing people to information on SOPA and how to contact their representatives in Congress. But that is not what I want to focus on.
On the gaming side of things, we had some really great showings around the web. The Entertainment Consumers Association (action link) had completely blacked out its websites including Game Politics. This was a pretty gutsy move from them as many people (myself included) had hoped they would stay active to document the protest. But hey, they got some more people to contact Congress and that is the important thing.
Gamasutra took a slightly different approach. They posted an editorial on why the site and its writers and editors opposed SOPA. This was the only thing available on the site and the article racked up a nice 100+ comments. I would have hoped that more people would have commented and that there would have been more discussion going on, but that was still pretty good.
Rock Paper Shotgun also blacked out their site. They have been pretty vocal in their opposition for a while now and have even compiled a list of ESA member companies and what their stances are on SOPA. I am really impressed with these guys.
Penny Arcade took the time yesterday to host a special anti-SOPA Extra Credits episode. In this episode, Red5, the creators of Firefall, Extra Credits and a number of other gaming figures put out a special plea for ESA member companies that oppose SOPA to drop their ESA memberships and for all those companies and gaming news sites that oppose SOPA to boycott E3 and other ESA related events. This is something that I will discuss in a separate article.
On the other end of the anti-SOPA spectrum there were a number of gaming news sites that did nothing but express their opposition to SOPA. Other than that, it was business as usual. Kotaku, Joystiq, IGN and many others really didn’t put their hearts into their messages. This was really sad. I don’t know what they were thinking. It is probably to do with the fact that most of those sites have parent organizations that actually support SOPA or that the owners of the sites didn’t want to lose any advertising revenue for the day. That is a horrible shame.
This is but a very small part of the whole anti-SOPA protest. I wish I could document everything that happened. The good news is that those who participated in the protest made an impression in Washington and support for SOPA and PIPA is falling. However, we need to keep this up. There is no reason to rest on our laurels now that we have won this small battle. We still have a war ahead of us. We need to keep our representatives held to their word. Those that still support SOPA and PIPA need to have their minds changed. We cannot rest as long as the internet and the freedom it embodies is threatened.