No, three of the biggest names in gaming aren’t saying they don’t like Spanish soup. The Stop Online Piracy Act, also known as the Congressional bill that would essentially make linking anything to anything else on the Internet illegal, lost these supporters in the latest version of this list.
The companies haven’t stated why they’ve dropped support for the bill. But take a quick look at what happened when GoDaddy users found out the domain registration provider was on board with SOPA and you might get an idea of what got Sony, Nintendo and EA to distance themselves from the controversial proposal.
In essence, the bill states that the U.S. government and private corporations should have the right to censor and blacklist certain websites and cut them off from any ad network or payment provider. The attorney general would have the authority to remove select websites from Google’s search algorithm and deny access of systems like Visa and Paypal to any site.
The act would allow copyright holders and the U.S. Department of Justice to seek court orders against a website or group they believe facilitates copyright infringement. So that picture of fictional Sony Vice President of Everything Kevin Butler posing with Mario and Luigi? Yeah, that might not be possible if SOPA were in effect.
One of the biggest sources of controversy for the bill is that the execution of any of its penalties may be done with very little transparency and a short window for appeal. Congress will continue debating the bill when its winter recess ends in early 2012. Until then, we’ll just have to wait and see how the Internet reacts to it. Hell, even Wikipedia is gauging whether a 24-hour blackout will help.
Update: As of this moment only Sony Computer Entertainment America has rescinded its support of SOPA. The company’s music arms still stand in support of the bill, as you can see on the House Judiciary Committee’s report linked above. Also, as other news sources have reported, the Entertainment Software Association remains on the list of SOPA supporters, all of which can be found here. While each company pulling its support individually is notable in and of itself, they’re still affiliated with the bill in some way through the ESA.