Campaign Launches Calling on Electronic Arts to Oppose SOPA

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100,000 people sign new campaign on Change.org calling on top video game company Electronic Arts to oppose a bill critics say will increase internet censorship.

More than 100,000 gamers and concerned internet users have joined a new campaign on Change.org created by an avid gamer calling on Electronic Arts (EA) to publicly oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

Shashank Katsurirangan, a fan of EA’s sports games and Battlefield and Command & Conquer franchises, launched the campaign on Change.org, the world’s fast-growing platform for social change. While EA has stated that it does not have a position on SOPA, the proposed legislation that critics say would lead to internet censorship, it is a member of the Entertainment Software Association, which actively supports the bill.

“As much as I agree that copyright law needs to be enforced, this legislation represents a blatant trespass of corporate lobbyists upon small businesses, and I cannot support it, nor can I endorse anyone who does,” Shashank said. “As a passionate gamer, I have a lot of respect for independent game designers who share and advertise their games through file and video sharing sites like YouTube and RapidShare. Also, as an amateur musician, my primary outlet for sharing my work is through free media like YouTube. SOPA allows for consumers to be denied access to these sites upon detection of any copyright infringing material, inflicting severe collateral damage upon independent artists and game designers whose only publicity comes from free media sites.”

On Wednesday, video game producer Riot Games publicly announced its opposition to SOPA. Other companies such as Google, Reddit and Wordpress have also announced their opposition, with Reddit saying this week that it would go black on January 18, the day of a Congressional hearing on SOPA, to protest the proposed legislation. GoDaddy.com altered its position on SOPA due to public outcry online in December.

“What these gaming fans and concerned internet users across the country have accomplished in just a few days is remarkable,” said Change.org Senior Organizer Tim Newman. “As of Wednesday, 100,000 supporters have joined the campaign on Change.org calling on Electronic Arts to stand against internet censorship. Our platform is about empowering anyone, anywhere to demand action on the issues that matter to them, and it’s been incredible to watch these gamers and concerned internet users take a stand.”

Thousands of other gamers have signed the petition, including many loyal fans of EA games.

Thomas Stoddard of Monroe, Michigan, said: “I enjoy video games – they are great fun on rainy days and make winter more tolerable. A quick scan of my shelf of games showed 15 EA titles, some of them my favorites. That is over $800 that has gone from my pocket to EA and it's distribution network, not including downloadable content purchased online or through Xbox. I don’t want EA essentially using my money to try and restrict my access to the internet.”

Angela Bridgman of Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, said: “This issue is very important to me, because I support developers of indie fangames which I enjoy very much. Stifling these creative writers, programmers and developers now will hurt the next generation who will develop tomorrow's games we will enjoy. Most of them get and hone their skills doing indie games. As a big fan of the Sims games, I sincerely hope that EA will come to the realization that there is no benefit to stifling the creative minds behind indie games and, in fact, it may be detrimental to cultivating the next generation of creative people.”

Richard Cardenas of Coppell, Texas, said: “I have been a gamer for my whole life and I have grown up with the internet and seen the evolution of games from encapsulated experiences to massively shared community experiences. That change would not have been possible with restrictions such as those that SOPA will implement. I'm sure EA has valid concerns about intellectual property theft, but restriction on the internet is not the appropriate way to react to these threats. EA should value the opinion of its customers so that we can all work together to find a way (hopefully outside the legislative process) to protect intellectual property without restricting the internet.”

Live signature totals from Shashank’s campaign:
http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-electronic-arts-to-oppose-internet-censorship

Journalists interested in contacting Electronic Arts’ public relations staff should try:

Jeff Brown, Vice President of Corporate Communications, Electronic Arts
jbrown(at)ea(dot)com
(650) 628-7922

Amanda Taggart, Public Relations Director, Electronic Arts
ataggart(at)ea(dot)com
(650) 628-2974

For more information on Change.org, please visit:
http://www.change.org/about
Change.org is the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change — growing by more than 500,000 new members a month, and empowering millions of people to start, join, and win campaigns for social change in their community, city and country.

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Charlotte Hill
Change.org
(202) 684-2552
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