It has come to our attention that a board member of video game publisher Electronic Arts is publicly opposing the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA). This after a leaked email revealed that the publisher would not oppose the bills or distance itself from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), an industry lobby group that actively supports the anti-piracy bill.
Jeff Huber, Senior Vice President of Engineering at Google, has urged internet users to educate themselves on what exactly SOPA and PIPA are, promoting Google's informative End Piracy, Not Liberty campaign on his Google+ page. Huber is also a member of the Board of Directors of Electronic Arts, who have yet to act against the bills despite a 133,000 strong petition started up on Change.org by gamer Shashank Kasturirangan.
Perhaps with one the company's board members actively speaking out against SOPA and PIPA, EA may start to see exactly why this is an important moment in industry history and that the bills in their current form poses a real threat to internet liberty and free speech.
Over 7000 websites and companies are currently taking part in a blackout in protest of the bills. Sites like Wikipedia and Reddit have gone dark, alongside others like TheOatmeal.com and indie developer Mojang. Epic Games, Riot Games and Bungie have also joined in the opposition while Google is running a campaign and a petition to Congress which has produced over 4.5 million signatures.
Since the protests, a number of sponsors have withdrawn their support for PIPA, including Sen. Roy Blunt, Sen. John Boozman, Sen. Orrin Hatch and Sen. Marcus Rubio, who urged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to "abandon" pushing the bill to the floor.
"Earlier this year, this bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously and without controversy. Since then, we've heard legitimate concerns about the impact the bill could have on access to the Internet and about a potentially unreasonable expansion of the federal government's power to impact the Internet. Congress should listen and avoid rushing through a bill that could have many unintended consequences," Sen. Rubio wrote on his official Facebook page.
"Therefore, I have decided to withdraw my support for the Protect IP Act. Furthermore, I encourage Senator Reid to abandon his plan to rush the bill to the floor. Instead, we should take more time to address the concerns raised by all sides, and come up with new legislation that addresses Internet piracy while protecting free and open access to the Internet."
The Senate will begin voting on January 24.