Bill S.978: The End of Gaming

Copyright and piracy is a terrible thing. It destroys industries. We love our blockbuster films, TV shows and the newest, hottest music. We love it so much that we spend our hard-earned money on it. But unfortunately the internet is flooded with illegal copies of these media forms available for free. These torrent sites allow shows like Family Guy and Top Gear to be stream live to the viewer free of charge. And if the shows aren’t being paid for or the programme isn’t supported by views the company looses money. Therefore meaning jobs are cut because there’s not enough money flowing around and production value drops and the programmes either become rubbish or get axed.

At the moment The U.S. senate is debating and considering a new law to pass, Bill S.978. This would see it illegal to stream or put on the internet television programmes, feature films and music videos. If caught the offender will either get a hefty fine of thousands upon thousands of dollars or a 5 year prison sentence. This is a serious punishment for a serious crime. However the Bill classes the broadcast of video game footage and gameplay as a copyright infringement.

This is ridiculous! I totally understand and support the decision to punishment for films and Music but for Video Games? Yes it is a media form, but by putting gameplay up on the internet isn’t stealing! The submitter isn’t declaring the game as their selves!

Unfortunately the senate and law makers don’t seem to of grasped the concept of the gaming world. Up and coming games and developers depend on their viral fan base. They depend on companies like IGN,CVG, Machinima, and PCGamer to review their game and tell their readers/viewers about the game and give a fair representation of the product. They depend on gameplays and ‘Let’s Play’s’ to hit Youtube everyday and to go out to the large crowd of viral gamers. For example, the indie game Minecraft only became known through publicity on Youtube and forums. Industry icons like ‘Seananners’ from Machinima gave the game a massive platform and persuaded 1000s into buying the game, unintentionally. I myself only found out about Minecraft and eventually bought the game because of Youtube and the hype.

To be able to broadcast legally, you would have to ask for the permission of the publisher (e.g. EA, Ubisoft, and Sony) formally, and then supply the formal justification before uploading or broadcasting.

Clan matches and tournament as well would have to go too!MLGand Starcraft events would lose sponsorship and deals and would have to close down.

So let’s recap, if the Bill is past and you live in the USA and you were to upload or stream gameplay footage of say, Duke Nukem Forever, your video will be taken down, your account suspended and will either get a hefty fine of thousands upon thousands of dollars or a 5 year prison sentence. If you’re outside of the States your video will be removed and your account will be suspended and maybe issued a fine.

This would have incredible impact on many companies that have been set up through the success of gameplay and materials of video games, companies like Machinima (that dominate the Youtube market),NGT, HazardCinema, The Game Station, Optic Nation and Team Noble.  The hobby of millions will disappear over night! Whether it’s watching or making the videos the law will deny them of this expressive art form.

It’s bleak, it is bleak. This would also mean that the world-famous E3 event every June will be cancelled! By having it there they would, apparently be breaking copyright laws. That’s an outrage too!

But it’s not all doom and gloom! Together we can fight against the misunderstanding senators and group mutually! If we care about the future of our games and the industry, with have to do something about it! Log onto http://act.demandprogress.org/letter/ten_strikes?akid=700.450896.5hVZPC&rd=1&t=1 and sign up against the Bill and together we can save our beloved games!

I totally understand the movement against pirated films, TV shows and Music but video games? It’s just ludicrous! I hope that these law makers have some sort of sense knocked into them and their minds are altered.