Yee on VGVN Initiative: Send Us Kinect Instead

October 8, 2010 -

Following yesterday’s news that the ESA - via their Video Game Voters Network - is asking gamers to send California State Senator Leland Yee broken or old videogame controllers with  “I believe in the First Amendment” written on them, we reached out to the Senator’s office for comment.

Yee’s Chief of Staff Adam Keigwin replied that, “I can only assume these broken controllers must represent the broken promises of the video game industry to parents.”

The response continued:

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VGVN Wants Gamers to Send Yee Their Broken Controllers

October 7, 2010 -

The Entertainment Software Association’s (ESA) Video Game Voters Network (VGVN) has launched a promotion designed to tweak California State Senator Leland Yee, the original author of that state’s videogame law which is now in front of the Supreme Court.

A good handful of gamers have probably destroyed a controller in a fit of rage, and while there’s a handful of things that the useless accessories could be used for, the ESA - via VGVN - is urging game enthusiasts to take the broken controller (or an old one), scribble “I believe in the First Amendment” on it and send it off to Senator Yee’s office.

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Yahtzee Takes on Gamer’s First Amendment Rights

September 24, 2010 -

The Entertainments Software Association (ESA) smartly called on The Escapist’s Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw to put together a public service announcement for the ESA’s Video Game Voters Network.

In the video, Yahtzee encourages gamers to fight the “anti-fun brigade” by joining the VGVN.

2 comments

Video Game Voters Network Looking for Help with Graphics

August 11, 2010 -

The Entertainment Software Association’s (ESA) Video Game Voters Network (VGVN) has launched a badge contest that will award a $750 Best Buy gift certificate to the winner and $250 to the runner up.

The graphics are meant to create a new look for the VGVN’s advocacy of free-speech and should incorporate Video Game Voters Network, VGVN and/or the website address (vgvn.org) of the organization. Designs will be accepted until August 23. Beginning August 24 the public will be able to vote on their favorite designs from 10 hand-picked by a panel of judges.

ESA SVP of Communications and Industry Affairs Rich Taylor stated, “The badge design competition is a great way for gamers to get involved and use their creativity to stand-up for video games and free speech.”


Video Game Voter Network Hits 200K Users

March 31, 2010 -

The Video Game Voters Network (VGVN), an organization backed by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), announced that it has eclipsed the 200,000 member mark.

Launched in 2006, the VGVN bills itself as “a place for American gamers to organize and defend against threats to video games by registering to vote and letting Congress know how important this issue is to the community.” The organization said that it leveraged its user-base 46 times last year in order to get thousands of letters sent to politicians regarding political legislation.

Michael Gallagher, President of the ESA, had this to say about VGVN’s grass-root members, “They support their choice of entertainment by contacting elected officials and making their voices heard. Our industry is fortunate to have these dedicated individuals helping to preserve the rights of computer and video game consumers and makers.”

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ESA Releases Annual Report

August 28, 2009 -

Video game publishers group ESA has released its annual report for the 2009 fiscal year, which concluded at the end of March.

As noted by Venture Beat,

The ESA fought 43 bills aimed at regulating content or controlling access to video games and none became law... Meanwhile, five states enacted tax incentives for the creation of game development jobs. Another 17 states are considering enacting the incentives.

The group said that it will be hard to get the attention of the federal government and Congress, which is preoccupied with issues such as climate change and healthcare. The ESA wants more done to stop piracy of games...

Faced with White House National Security Claim, Public Interest Groups Drop Information Lawsuit on Secret Copyright Treaty

June 24, 2009 -

For nearly a year GamePolitics has been tracking ATCA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

As we have reported, ACTA deals in large part with copyright issues and is being negotiated in secret by the U.S., Japan, Canada, the EU and other nations. Details of ACTA are largely a mystery to consumers despite the fact that dozens of corporate lobbyists have been clued in to parts of the treaty, including Stevan Mitchell, VP of IP Policy for game publishers trade group the Entertainment Software Association.

Sadly, consumer interests suffered a major blow last week as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge dropped a federal lawsuit seeking to cast a little sunshine on the ACTA negotiations. The EFF explained that a recent decision by the Obama Administration to claim a national security exemption for the ACTA talks made the lawsuit unwinnable; federal judges have  little leeway to overrule such claims. The move by the Obama White House extends a similar policy put in place by the Bush Administration.

Public Knowledge Deputy Legal Director Sherwin Siy commented on the decision:

Even though we have reluctantly dropped this lawsuit, we will continue to press the U.S. Trade Representative and the Obama Administration on the ACTA issues. The issues are too far-reaching and too important to allow this important agreement to be negotiated behind closed doors.

The worry, of course, is that the United States will emerge from ACTA with a done deal that favors Big IP in the fashion of the consumer-unfriendly DMCA. Hal Halpin, president of the Entertainment Consumers Association, expressed concerns about ACTA earlier this year:

Because ECA supports the balance that must exist between the rights of copyright owners and the right of copyrighted material consumers, we do not think it wise to include any portions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) currently being discussed...    

We are concerned that any DMCA language in ACTA may cause enormous, unforeseen negative implications in US law...

GP: As GamePolitics mentioned above, video game publishers lobbying group the ESA is privy to at least a portion of the secret ACTA negotiations while its industry's customers - video game consumers - are barred from knowing anything at all.

That makes us wonder - will the Video Game Voters Network, which is owned and operated by the ESA, commence a letter-writing campaign on behalf of its gamer-members demanding that the White House pull the curtain back on ACTA?

Somehow we doubt it.

FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The Entertainment Consumers Association is the parent company of GamePolitics.

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