Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) visited an unusual forum this week to ask gamers to stand together against the Stop Online Piracy Act.
Posting in an anti-SOPA thread at the official “League of Legends” message board, Congressman Polis admitted to being an avid gamer and called for his fellow LoL players to stand up and be heard:
Hi, this is Congressman Jared Polis of Colorado. As a member of the League of Legends community (partial to Anivia and Maokai), and as someone who made his living as an Internet entrepreneur before being elected to Congress, I’m greatly concerned about the future of the Internet and gaming if Congress doesn’t wake up. You may have heard that Congress is currently considering a bill called the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA. While SOPA has a ton of problems, there are some significant issues that I thought fellow gamers might want to know about.
I’m particularly concerned that SOPA might stifle the kind of innovation that brings us games we love, such as LoL. The bill makes it far too easy for angry competitors to sue good law abiding companies out of existence. It threatens any company or website that depends on user-generated content, even companies like Riot. Instead of coming up with great ways to keep making games like LoL even better, companies will have to spend their money hiring lawyers. That’s why companies like Riot, who want to protect the games they create, are opposed to SOPA.
I’ve been working on alternative legislation that would protect the games companies create while also fostering innovation. But we also need you to call your members of Congress and let them know of your opposition to SOPA. This bill has a very real chance of passing, and it is up to all of who want to protect the Internet to take action. More information is available at http://keepthewebopen.com/. Please make your voices heard in this debate! I will be happy to respond to your posts below, and will check back every few hours today and respond to as many as I can.
The message was met with unbridled adoration from the online game’s community, quickly garnering over 4,000 likes and no small amount of shock. One commenter gushed, “we need more representatives like you.” Another boasted, “We got Congress playing with us!” And people say no one likes a politician.
Congressman Polis’ plea came shortly after “League of Legends” developer Riot Games announced its own opposition to SOPA and PROTECT IP.
“While we do support efforts to prevent online piracy, the current form of this legislation comes at far too high a cost for us, our players, and online communities across the internet,” said Brandon Beck, Riot Games CEO.
“League of Legends” is a competitive, online real-time strategy game released in 2009 exclusively for the PC platform. Last year, the title saw its registered player count swell to over 15 million with more than 1.4 million people playing on a daily basis.
The House bill SOPA and the Senate’s PROTECT IP are currently slated for renewed consideration in their respective branches later this month. Both bills aim to cut down on Internet-based piracy and counterfeiting by granting the government the power to force ISPs to blacklist sites by altering DNS records and possibly other methods.
An additional anti-piracy proposal, the OPEN Act, has been dismissed by the MPAA as “time consuming and costly.” The trade group remains a key backer of SOPA and PROTECT IP.