Ostensibly, the much-ballyhooed “SOPA” means “Stop Online Piracy Act”, but I prefer to think of it as “Sack Our Pathological Administrators”. Not that such will happen, mind you, but one can dream.
As near as I can tell, SOPA is a thinly veiled statist control grab, all in the name of stopping piracy. Guess what, guys? Piracy can’t be stopped. And no, the varied and vehement denizens of the internet don’t trust you with power. To echo a famous pithy quip:
“Orwell’s 1984 was a warning, not an instruction manual”
It does strike me as odd, though, these “going dark” protests. The problem is that the U.S. government weasels want to control the internet, possibly censoring it, and the answer is to… take your ball and go home? Effectively self-censor? It seems like a weird message to send, but with big ol’ sites like Google and Wikipedia in on the action, at least it’s calling attention to the stupid potential policy. (Though curiously making it a little harder to research said policy. Again… odd.) I do like XKCD’s take on it, found at this convenient link. Sam and Fuzzy’s author comments briefly on it as well thisaway. Shamus of Twenty Sided has a good article up on it, too, and I like the Rampant Coyote’s take.
As for me, well, I’m going to go work on Zomblobs!, which will be released as a Free to Play tabletop tactical wargame. The ruleset will be free in PDF form, but you can buy nice printouts. The PDFs will come with units, maps and tokens you can cut out and play with, or you can go buy models from my Shapeways store or maps from The Game Crafter. Play a fully functional if vaguely unaesthetic version for free with a little elbow grease, or upgrade a bit to a nicer version for a little cash. Seems simple to me.
It’s evidence of my mindset; create something that’s fun to play and offers great value, create a relationship of trust and goodwill, and hope that some kind souls are willing to chip in a few bucks for the experience. I won’t be able to make a living off of the scope of what I’ll be offering (though Three Rings does with their games, notably Puzzle Pirates, and they have a similar philosophy), but I’ll still be offering something I consider to be valuable. Giving, not controlling, sharing, not stealing. …and perhaps sneakily, monetizing actual, tangible stuff rather than the digital parts of the game. Sure, my work is copyrighted, but again, pirates can’t be stopped. I prefer the carrot approach rather than trying to find a bigger stick.
Seems to be a better way for me to conduct my business. I’m the sole proprietor of this site, Alpha Hex and Zomblobs!, so I’m going to do what I want with them, and that’s try to get as many people playing and having fun with them as I can. I think I’ve made some fun games, and while I’m no Raph Koster, Klaus Teuber or Wil Wright, I’m just confident enough in these games to want to put my work out there for consumption and feedback.