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Riot Games CEO Decries SOPA

The CEO of Riot Games has spoken out against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), saying that it threatens the current state of the internet and game replays.

"These bills are a misguided attempt to curb the illegal piracy of copyrighted content (like movies, music and games)," said Brandon Beck, CEO and co-founder of the League Of Legends developer.

He was keen to let it be known that Riot was behind efforts to prevent piracy, but that SOPA was not the way to go. The problem the company - and most other opponents of the bill - has, is that the language used is so vague. Designed to target foreign internet pirates, when used against domestic sources problems arise. SOPA is conceptualised with speed in mind, meaning sites could be taken offline without even informing the owner.

"Under the law, ad networks, payment providers and internet service providers are now potentially liable for their user's infringement. These services could then be compelled to immediately remove support for a streaming website or face a costly legal battle - at a minimum cutting off financial means, and likely shutting off the site entirely."

Mr Beck went on to specifically describe the instances where SOPA would impact League of Legends directly:

  • Kills streaming. If any single streamer plays copyrighted music (or alt tabs into a movie or other owned content) on their stream, there is a significant risk of the entire streaming service being taken down. In some cases, it could even result in criminal penalties for the streamer.

  • Threatens independent content creation. Services we all use to create and share League of Legends related content, such as YouTube, Reddit, DeviantArt, streaming websites such as Own3d and Twitch, and more would be at risk of shutting down or greatly restricting the scope of legitimate content allowed on their sites.

  • Attacks our community. Aspects of our service such as the official forums and potentially even in-game chat, could be taken down or have their features reduced based on user behavior.

  • Other harmful effects. SOPA/PIPA undermine established intellectual property legislation like the DMCA, raise serious constitutional free speech issues, and could even compromise the basic security infrastructure of the internet.

The thread on the official League of Legends forums has now reached over 200 pages, with most of those commenting agreeing with the CEO that SOPA should be stopped in its tracks. There were also quite a few calls for Ron Paul to gain the presidential nomination.

As a companion discussion, the Riot Games lawyer "Logan" has been answering questions on Reddit since yesterday. So far there are over 1200 comments. In early responses he stated that Riot would be doing more to draw attention to SOPA. Though he couldn't elaborate what exactly would be done, he said that "Some of it will be public-facing, some of it is more calculated to maximize legislative impact against this bill."