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CG industry reacts to SOPA/PIPA web blackout

Thursday, January 19th, 2012 | Posted by Jim Thacker


A Google infographic calling for action against the proposed US SOPA and PIPA anti-piracy bills. View full size.

Although mainstream technology firms led yesterday’s ‘internet blackout’ protest against the US’s controversial proposed anti-piracy legislation, ripples from the action have also spread through the CG community.

The day-long event saw companies including Google, Reddit and Wikipedia UK blacking out or partially blacking out their websites in protest against the SOPA and PIPA bills.

Other sites have covered the debate in far more detail than we can hope to here. (A good starting point is this collection of opinion pieces from key players on both sides of the argument.)

However, we thought it would be interesting to round up reactions from CG industry sites.

Below, we’ve collated some of the things we saw on our travels around the internet yesterday. It isn’t an exhaustive list, so please feel free to link to other sites in the comments.

Pro, anti and undecided
Those in the anti-SOPA camp included open source developers such as The Blender Foundation.

In a statement on the Blender website, foundation chairman Ton Roosendaal pointed out that the US is not the only country considering such copyright-protection laws.

“Your own country will have similar organizations claiming to stand up for rights of artists, but in fact serv[ing] the interests of copyright-trolls and wealthy corporations even more,” he wrote.

Those in the opposing camp included major copyright holders and business bodies such as the MPAA and ESA, but also entertainment industry union IATSE, parent body of The Animation Guild.

The Business Software Alliance, which represents developers including Adobe, Autodesk, Apple and Dassault, initially came out in support of SOPA, but later revised its position following pressure from its members.


Print this 3D coin and stop SOPA, urged 3D printer manufacturer MakerBot Industries.

News sites supporting the anti-SOPA action included VizWorld.com, which partly blacked out its news coverage, and STASH, which posted a call to get involved.

But perhaps the most idiosyncratic action was that of 3D printer manufacturer MakerBot Industries, which called for site visitors to print out an anti-SOPA coin design and mail it to their senator or congressman.

“The rule of thumb is that a letter is 100X the value of a phone call. If a 2D action gets a 100X multiplier, then a 3D action could get 1000X the multiplier,” the company reasoned.

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