Oh sweet, sweet irony. California State Senator, Leland Yee, was arrested on corruption, racketeering, and pretty much being in cahoots with organized crime. According to the affidavit, Yee was trying to get donations through bribery by showering praise or aiding in legislation and receiving monetary compensation. Doing so would net him more money for his campaign, going way beyond what the donation limit in California is for a public official. But it doesn’t stop there. Those who contributed in Yee’s deals were offered guns from an arms dealer in New Jersey that Yee was in contact with. He, along with 26 others, are accused of taking part in Yee’s schemes, which went beyond what is mentioned here.
When my colleague Anthony showed this on the staff page, I very much surprised at what I was reading. I mean, the usual targets patent trolls claim as theirs is tech stuff, so something like podcasts is not even in my purview. But lo and behold Patent trolls have sunk to a new low. According to Julie Samuels of lobby group Electronic Frontier Foundation, a company called Personal Audio are going after podcasters for supposedly “claiming that it owns a patent that covers podcasting technology.” She explains that Personal Audio is using very broad terminology to catch many in its huge web of deception. One example she presents is how they define distribution of episodes.
Ahem, huh? Well this is… strange. Around September of this year, Microsoft submitted an application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), setting off a flurry on speculation of whether a new Killer Instinct game was being made if a re-release of the previous two KI games on XBLA was possible. Unfortunately looks like those plans might be stifled a bit as, according to Eurogamer, the USPTO denied Microsoft’s application due to someone else having it. Fox currently owns the trademark, which they used for the shortlived slogfest of a crime drama called… Killer Instinct.
Of the many titles Kevin Butler has donned during his tenure at Sony, VP of Lawsuit Defendant would probably be the last thing on his mind. The lawsuit was sparked after Jerry Lambert, who plays Kevin Butler in Sony’s Playstation 3 ads, appeared in a Bridgestone commercial as one of the scientists testing out tires. The ad was part of Bridgestone’s GameOn campaign where a tire purchase could net you a free Nintendo Wii. In the commercial itself, the scientists, including Lambert, are seen playing Mario Kart Wii. Sony wasn’t too fond of the man playing and advertising a competitor’s game and console, and on September 11th they filed a lawsuit against him citing IP violation. Bridgestone proceeded to remove Lambert’s image from all of their ads for the remainder of their campaign. This begs the question though: are they suing him for portraying a very similar character, or are they suing him for that plus associating himself with a competitor. I have a feeling that they would’ve let him be if he was doing something else as the character. But since he was playing a Wii, that probably wasn’t flying with Sony.
Either way, it looks like both parties might be coming to an out-of-court settlement. In a filing, the lawyer representing Sony called the courtroom deputy and said that they were coming to an agreement. The court then ordered Sony, “by October 12, 2012, to either: (1) withdraw the ex parte motion; or (2) file a status update describing the current status of the dispute and whether a ruling on the motion will be necessary.” So currently the case is still ongoing, but it looks like it’ll all come to an end soon. I guess we can rule out Kevin Butler being in Playstation All-Stars then huh?
Ahoy Fellow Fishes. This week is half SOPA, half retro. Because of how close the ruling of Protect IP is, and the protests and blackouts against PIPA and SOPA, the time has come for us to finally talk about the two and how catastrophic these bills are. On a lighter note, we resume our regular wackiness with retro stuff and what we grew up with as kids.
[MAJOR UPDATE 1] As of this time, ruling of PIPA has been postponed indefinitely. Ruling of SOPA has been shelved indefinitely. The battle may be over, but the war is still on. We want these two bills to be killed off completely. From the looks of it, the authors of both bills are hoping to postpone it long enough to try passing it without the public noticing. However, we were able to catch these bills as they were flying through Congress and stop them in their tracks. We can do it again!
[MAJOR UPDATE 2] After the indefinite postponing of the two bills, the ESA had dropped support of the bills. While it’s awesome and all, it’s somewhat meaningless now. In light of all this, I guess your can kinda skip the first half. But I still recommend watching just to see how bad these bills are. But if you’ve had your fill of SOPA and PIPA, you can hit the break to see which time to skip to.
As usual, timestamp table of contents after the break.
Huh, we seem to back in this. Back in November, websites all around had censored their names in protest of two pieces of legislation. Today, Jan. 18, 2012, some websites have outright shut down in protest. Some have chosen to remain online, but make it clear that they are in protest, like Google. I’ve gone to some sites today and have received 503 errors. Our platform, WordPress, has censored out articles on their home in protest as well. Our latest episode of TWFP has half the episode dedicated to talking about SOPA and Protect IP. That will be put up Tomorrow.
Since November, we’ve gotten a better idea of who’s for and against SOPA. For game companies, you already know that Capcom supports it, saying that the “ESA represents us in these matters” and the ESA supports SOPA (fuck what Svensson says). However, some companies that are part of the ESA have come out against SOPA and Protect IP, including Epic Games and, more recently, Nintendo and Sony. Microsoft, Zynga, Notch, and others have joined the fight against SOPA and Protect IP. The bill’s writer, Lamar Smith, put on his slick-bastard hat and postponed the SOPA hearing until February, in hopes that the hype behind the Super Bowl will distract the public. Yes, it’s during the weekend and Congress doesn’t do weekends. But to put in perspective, in Japan, that didn’t stop Ishihara from passing a manga censorship bill when Japan was still suffering from the Earthquake and Tsunami last year. Mr. Smith is hoping to pull a Ishihara to get SOPA passed. Make it loud and clear to him that we won’t stand for hit bullshit!
I highly recommend that you got to americancensorship.org and email your representatives and senators and let your voice be heard. If you’re a New York City resident, there is a protest happening today in front of the offices of Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. Both of them support the two bills. If you wish to join, RSVP and head on out there! If you want to know more, Gizmodo has a great rundown of how crappy this bill is. KYM also has one too (though you’ll have trouble going there today). Jason Harvey of Reddit also breaks down some of the terminology of the bills and how it could affect the infrastructure of the internet. Stuttering Craig from ScrewAttack and Daniel Floyd and James Portnow from Extra Credits have taken a stance against Protect IP and SOPA and have posted a message stating that if ESA continues to support the two bills, they will not attend nor cover E3, the ESA run and funded games convention.
Don’t let these bills pass! All of your favorites websites, including us, will fold under these two bills.
Lately, what else is there to say about Capcom. I mean, they cancel Megaman Legends 3, make UMvC3, then make a really crappy Megaman X port for the iPhone, they piss off the king of Spain, and now… they support SOPA. That is until later on the week when Capcom stated that they kinda don’t. Earlier, a spokeswoman for Capcom USA emailed Digital Trends stating that the ESA, a lobby group made of of big name videogame companies, “represents us on these matters.” Thing is, the ESA (the Entertainment Software Association) supports SOPA. Therefore Capcom supports SOPA. Other companies, like Epic Games, do not support SOPA. Other ESA members have stated that they do not support it. With Capcom hiding behind the lobby group, then we can come to an understanding that they are for SOPA.
Then Christian Svensson comes out and says that they never said they supported it. He states, “We’ve only ever stated that the ESA represents us in legislative matters (again, like every other publisher). We have not stated any stance on our support (or not) for SOPA. Inferring more than that is bad journalism.” How dare he. Listen Mr. Svensson, this was not bad journalism. They had a right to say what they said. Being coy about it only means that you probably do support it. At least have the balls to say that you do or you don’t and not hide behind the blanket of the ESA. SOPA is a serious issue, and being cute about and teasing is not going to win you any fans (or get back any for that matter).