Gaming Industry Spent $US190,000 Pushing For Senate Version Of SOPA

Gaming Industry Spent $US190,000 Pushing For Senate Version Of SOPA

Many gamers and video game companies can’t stand the Stop Online Piracy Act and its companion bill the Protect IP Act (PIPA). But the Entertainment Software Association, the lobbyists who stage E3 each year and defend gaming’s freedom of speech rights, thinks PIPA is a good idea.

And they’re paying to support the legislation.

Lobbying records for the second and third quarter of 2011 indicate that the ESA, which spends more than $US1 million lobbying politicians about video games every three months, paid two firms a combined $US190,000 to lobby about PIPA and other issues.

Supporters say the bills would fight online piracy. Critics say that the bills, if passed, would stifle free speech online and disrupt the workings of the Internet.

The ESA has used two firms to try to convince politicians how to shape the Protect IP Act. They paid the Smith-Free Group $60,000 between April 1 and June 30 for “discussions relating to online infringements of intellectual property” relating to the Protect IP Act as well as for lobbying for non PIPA/SOPA causes. The same group was paid $US50,000 in the summer for a similar array of causes, which also included education, energy and tax policy as it related to the gaming industry.

The ESA paid the Franklin Square Group $US40,000 in the (northern) spring and another $US40,000 in the (northern) summer to lobby for a batch of causes including the immigration of highly skilled workers and for PIPA.

The filings don’t indiciate what position the ESA’s people took on PIPA, but the gaming group has made it clear in recent weeks that they support the legislation. The records also don’t take into account any lobbying about PIPA or SOPA that was done in the winter. Those records should be filed in the coming days.

I contacted the ESA for comment about their lobbying efforts, but they did not respond by the writing of this post. If they do, I’ll add it here.


  • Here’s a simple solution, all devs that don’t support SOPA boycott E3, and those that attend/support SOPA we boycott. Surely getting rid of this bill (or have it completely revised from the ground up so it protects content providers and peoples rights) is more important than a few hours of entertainment…

    • It is to you, and me, but not to others, and then there’s the fact that a majority of gamers are likely completely ignorant of a. SOPA. b. What SOPA is or c. The actual effect SOPA could have on their hobby.

    • This is a pointless maneuver though.

      By that point in time it will be too late either SOPA will have passed or it will have failed.

    • Boycotting E3 is only going to hurt the devs who do so. E3 is invitation only so not attending just means that you are not covered by any of the media coverage or critics that are invited.

  • Going to jump on the bandwagon here:

    Everyone called Sony liars for saying they didn’t support SOPA, but still remained a member of the ESA.

    We’ve had all these other groups recently saying they don’t support SOPA – are they members of the ESA?

    I’d like to see any member demand the ESA reverse it’s position, and if they don’t, withdraw from membership immediately.

    Much money and support to any group that does so.

  • If you really want to spread the word of what SOPA is though, both youtube and facebook should shut down for a day, just to prove a point and to get peoples attention. That would make the world flip it’s tables.

  • Every game company I’ve seen so far has either been non-committal either way or come out clearly opposed to SOPA. How the hell can the ESA claim to be representing these companies when they are publicly opposed to this?!

  • Yay for overprotected economies and barriers to cultural transmission! This will do wonders for US relations with North Korea!

    But serious, America’s economy thrived on innovation, competition and consumer-borne product-gossiping, ranging from people talking about their products in sometimes overndulging ways, to people loaning out things they’ve bought and sharing products to convince their friends to get one too. It worked pretty well too. So why try throwing a wild card like this into online economy when the world could quite frankly deal with stability and nice levels of growth rather than controversial things that don’t serve any benefit to the larger population? :-/

    Australia seems so much simpler with our protected economy!

  • I guess the US government is now taking orders from APPLE. closed doors and if something got by us that was not to our standards we F!@&!@&! them up and rip them apart in whatever way we want.

  • That’s 14,634,746 in Yen that they spent (In reference to Nintendo and Sony’s Support).

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