Jan. 5, 2012 at 3:14 PM ET
The controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) currently being considered by the U.S. Congress continues to cause rifts among members of the video game industry, with two major game publishers publicly offering very different takes on the law.
"Gears of War" and "Infinity Blade" publisher Epic Games addressed the issue directly in a post on its official forums late last night, saying it couldn't support SOPA as currently written. While the company said it "supports efforts that would stop overseas websites profiting from pirating our games," it also stressed that such efforts must be undertaken "in a way that's compatible with freedom of speech and due process of law."
SOPA has come under fire from many corners for the sweeping abilities it would give copyright holders and the U.S. government to effectively shut down access to a large range of web sites immediately and without review. Under the law, affected site operators would then have the burden of proving they do not host pirated material before the block would be released.
Epic's public withdrawal of support for the bill is a bit thorny, though, because it's a member of the Entertainment Software Association, an industry trade group that has been vocal in its support for SOPA (though the group did recently acknowledge it was "mindful of concerns raised about a negative impact on innovation" by the bill).
Addressing this conflict, Epic only confirmed that "we are members of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), a trade organization that is working with legislators to refine the bill."
Japanese "Resident Evil" and "Street Fighter" publisher Capcom, meanwhile, was willing to let the ESA take the lead on on the legislative issue, telling Digital Trends simply that "the ESA represents us on these matters."
Other game publishers have been cautious with regards to specific support for SOPA. Electronic Arts told msnbc.com's In-Game that despite its signature on a general letter of support for anti-piracy legislation in September, the company "hadn't planned on issuing an opinion either way" regarding SOPA specifically.
Nintendo and Sony Computer Entertainment, which also signed the September letter of support, have yet to publicly comment on their specific positions on SOPA, and neither have the dozens of other ESA members the group says it represents on the issue. That issue seems unlikely to last, however, as public scrutiny of SOPA and its supporters continues to grow among gamers and industry watchers.