"We aim to be the NRA for gamers" - SOPA controversy creates rival to game industry group ESA

Frustrated by the Entertainment Software Association‘s (ESA) support of the proposed anti-piracy SOPA and PIPA legislation, Red 5 Studios CEO Mark Kern has founded the League For Gamers (LFG), which intends to advocate for developers’ and gamers’ rights and give them a voice in Washington.

The group’s first action is a petition to ESA to drop their support of the Stop Online Privacy Act bill and the Protect IP Act, “which would trample on the free speech of videogames and innovation in the game industry.” LFG also calls for a media boycott of the ESA-organized E3 tradeshow.

LFG President and Red 5 Studios CEO Mark Kern is a former World of Warcraft team lead and a graduate of Boston University School of Law. Speaking to VentureBeat, Mark Kern criticized the ESA as “too focused on the large publisher, box retail product motif – part of their support for PIPA and SOPA stems from this. When are we going to learn from what happened to the music industry, and find new ways and new business models that offer consumers better alternatives to piracy? Rather than preserve a dying model in the face of digital distribution, free-to-play and cloud-based gaming, we should embrace the change and shift our focus to these new models.”

Kern had a call with the ESA General Counsel where they agreed that tools are needed to combat piracy. But in Kern’s opinion “the ESA is blind to any potential for abuse and feels they and the courts will be fair arbiters of this extensive power. Anyone who has witnessed the recent DNS takedowns, and spurious DCMA actions last year, can see this is a ridiculous statement for blind and naive faith. I also pointed out that many developers oppose SOPA and PIPA, and [big companies] have all quietly dropped SOPA support… so who the heck is the ESA representing at this point?”

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