Fan Art Friday (SOPA Edition)

In celebration of the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) currently being considered by the US Congress, this week’s Fan Art Friday will be 100% copyright compliant!

All SOPA-offending elements, such as the remixing and recasting of copyrighted characters and situations, have been censored for your viewing pleasure.

Let’s start with this lovely image by CatieKay:

Pretty sweet, huh? How about those two random people having a possibly intimate moment atop an entirely generic (and thus non-copyrightable) flying whale-beast! Sure, we can’t SEE what they’re doing as the lightning flashes, but at least no one’s interfering with my ability to generate income from this touching narrative moment.

And here’s a lovely piece of fan art from Unforgiven-Unloved:

This one’s very sweet, but of course it would be WRONG to let you see these characters drawn by anyone but Keith Thompson, the only registered and approved artist for the Leviathan series. The dialog is pretty cute too. But let’s face it, only I may legally put words into the mouths of Deryn and Alek.

And here’s some cool Xmas ornaments from AvistheArtistGeek:

Aww. Tiny Deryn and Alek getting ready to climb the ratlines of Avis’s Christmas tree! Too bad that these characters belong to me, and thus her entire Xmas is non-SOPA-compliant! I just hope she takes her decorations down before my lawyers get there.


Most of you have probably seen that Wikipedia is dark today, and that Google’s banner page is sad. In fact, a ton of sites on the interwebs are shrouded in various ways. This is, of course, to protest the SOPA and PIPA legislation being considered in the US Congress.

“But wait!” you may be asking. “Is SOPA really so evil?”

It’s supporters certainly don’t want you to think so. After all, the purpose of SOPA is to protect copyright laws, by which filmmakers, musicians, and novelists (and the corporations that publish them) make money from their work. And that’s me!

But as you may have noticed, the internet is a place in which copyright is treated in a rough-and-ready fashion. People gank photos without attribution, create fan fiction and art based on others’ work, and make lip-sync music videos without paying for the right to do so.

Gee, how horrible. All those babies dancing to “Single Ladies” FOR FREE.

The problem is that SOPA and PIPA are written only with us copyright owners in mind. The lobbyists who wrote these bills don’t care about the rest of you (us, actually, because we all re-mix culture).

Here’s one example: PIPA allows companies to sue websites for the crime of linking to other websites that infringe copyright. So if I link to Deviant Art, and someone on Deviant Art (say, jett-wolfe98) has ganked a photo and added Deryn and Alek to it, like so:

Then I can be sued! Not for the image of Alek and Deryn, but for the underlying photograph of the room, which is, after all, a copyrightable thing.

In other words, everyone on the web will become responsible for the behavior of all the sites they link to, always and forever. Deviant Art will be totally gone, as will everything else cool and interesting.

(By the way, if your fan art is here, don’t be sad! It will return in its non-censored glory on Friday. Sorry, guys, for using your lovely work to make a point!)

These bills are, of course, absurd at a legal level, and as a practical matter they are nothing less than an attack on the structure of the web, its complex web of links and connections, and upon the content of the web, with its rich culture of re-mixing and re-purposing copyrighted works, like the fan art and fan fiction that appears on this blog. For which, under SOPA, I could sue you guys and everyone who links to you IF I WERE A COLOSSAL ASS-HAT.

But in an effort to fight ass-hattery, I’m joining in this protest today. Not by blocking my site, but by offering you the above edition of Fan Art Friday that meets SOPA’s standards, with all the copyright-offending materials blacked out.*

Do you like this version of Fan Art Friday? Would you like everything on the internet to work this way? I think not.

Now, I will mention that President Obama has come out against SOPA/PIPA in its current form. That’s a good thing, but it never hurts to keep the pressure on. He will be president for, at most, five more years.

And throughout your lifetime, there will always be people who try to turn spaces of sharing and collaboration into places of buying, selling, and lawsuits. Stay ready to fight them, or you will leave your kids a world where most stuff sucks.

Click here to learn more about SOPA, or to contact your representatives in congress.

Non-SOPA/sucky Fan Art Friday will return on Friday, with the art above and more, uncensored. Like the internet should be.

*Yes, the legal status of fan art and fan fictions is complicated, but if SOPA passes, we’re heading toward a world where that status will probably become simpler, and not in a good way.

97 thoughts on “Fan Art Friday (SOPA Edition)

  1. Now I want to stick whoever is in charge of SOPA stick them headfirst in a millpond and pound them down like a fence post.

    Just so we’re clear, that was a joke.

  2. @51 Joke accepted. I wish there was a way that they could stop bad piracy without depriving us of our fanart and fanfics!!!

  3. People keep making laws and more people are going to try to get around them they might as well leave the internet alone

  4. Scott, Peeps was the first of your work I ever read. Peeps was super awesome because it explained how diseases occur and spread. You wrote it in a way that made sense without making it sound like a monotone biology class. So of course leaving it up to you to explain SOPA and PIPA is the best way to drive the point home. You really demonstrated the main points in an easy to understand way. Go Scott!

    I can’t imagine life without fanfic, fan art, YouTube, Tumblr, or just plain LINKING. That’s ridiculous.

    As some others mentioned before, I think these ideas have good intentions. I don’t want artists to be hijacked of their work, but I think it is out of hand. The lawmakers are trying to cover all the bases because the world of media is all over and evolving as we speak but in doing so they are stepping all over the basics of the Internet. They are turning people into criminals for surfing and sharing. I feel awful for saying this, but I feel like I’m in Cuba or North Korea where even my most basic rights aren’t really mine.

    There will always be people who try to revoke simple pleasures in life. The best way to combat this is to stay educated so we can make the best possible decision for the future generations.

  5. Scott Westerfeld you have officially achieved a new level of awesome, and considering how awesome you already were, that’s saying a lot.

  6. @27- Well, SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) general counsel Paul Spurgeon says that prevention of copyright infringement is welcome. But most of the Canadian peoples feel much the same as the Americans as this affects them, admittedly to a lesser extent, but affect them it does. It affects them in this way: The domain names .net .com and .org will become copy written thus disturbing many, Canadian used, legitimate sites.

  7. Also many Canadian politicians think that Americas power is so through that SOPA and PIPA will soon spread to Canada and many other countries with similar governmental power. There you go Loki. I am a legit Canadian and I do my research. I hope this makes you happy.

  8. ‘Tis Friday, my good sir… WHERE BE THE FAN ART-ETH?

    (Sorry… I need something to brighten my Friday. ;))

  9. @47. Wait, so you read my fanfic, Jacquie-la? Or did you just… I dunno. Well, I think it could still technically be illegal for me to write/post my fanfic if I didn’t say specifically that Scott Westerfeld owns it.

  10. We just finished learning about the Constitution is Social Studies. About the whole freedom of speech and press thing. If this goes against fanfiction or fanart, then they’re crazy. SOPA and PIPA protest are all over It’s great!

  11. Ughhh SOPA abd PIPA make me angry forever, but I knew about this bill since September. ;n; THANKS FOR SPREADING AWARENESS SCOTT.

  12. LOL… Can’t breath! Scott, just when I thought you couldn’t get any cooler… (still can’t breath) But seriously, I sorta feel bad for the artists… They are probably like…

    “YAY! My art was posted on Scott’s bog… wait a second… What the crap!?” T.T

    (probably went something like that… or at least it would if it was my art)

  13. Post FAF already, Scott! If I stay up any later my mom will most likely put me in rehab and block your website! And I can’t quit cold-turkey like that!

  14. 65-Im not meaning to be deep(but thanks I guess), I just dont understand why everyone is making such a big deal of SOPA. It isnt censorship or anything, people are way too paranoid.

  15. On one hand, SOPA and PIPA make sense (Pleasedon’tkillme) Artists don’t want their copyrighted work to be obtained illegally, cheating them out of thousands, or even millions of dollars. However, the way these two bills are currently written (which I’ve heard is very poorly) The entire world of art would suffer. Artists’ work should be protected, but not at the cost of not allowing everyone else to share their work because it has a copyrighted character in it. That’s not piracy. Besides, a lot of authors enjoy seeing their fans’ artwork. It would be no fun if we couldn’t share what we love to do.

    If SOPA and PIPA are ever brought up again, they need to be extremely well written. Their target is piraters, not the innocent teenager who enjoys drawing kids on hoverboards and flying whales.

    Thanks for doing this, Scott. I didn’t really understand what SOPA and PIPA were about until I read your post. Now it makes a lot more sense.

  16. SOPA and PIPA suck. They are like…a curse, never going away…damn you stupid SOPA and PIPA. I REALLY want to see the fanart uncensored.

  17. *facetwitch* still no FAF… Hey, Ronnie, can you give me directions to the “Pick-et yourself” store? I have some picketing to do!
    @75. You said it perfectly, Ronnie/Rachel. Perfectly.

  18. No. This cannot happen. And uh, for the record? The drawing that you have of Jett’s isn’t Alek and Deryn…it’s Dani and Klaus, their children, fighting over a toy version of the Leviathan.

    I don’t know that that’s copyrighted…oh, wait, the Leviathan is in there. Dang.

  19. @Middy Miles: yes, I read your fanfic. It’s actually quite good. About halfway through I had to remind myself that it was written by another teenager and not Scott Westerfeld himself. I wish I could write like that.

  20. @ 77- 75 wasn’t me. Sorry. But yes, all we Rachels think alike! * high fives Rachel *
    Just follow follow follow follow follow the yellow brick road! To the Picket fence store!

  21. If i loose access to fanfiction or fanart, i really don’t know what i’d do. My ife is reading fanart and i spend a majroity of my time creating stuff for my fandoms. I swear to what ever diety you believe in that i won’t just stand by and let this happen! THIS IS SO MESSED UP! People do these things because they love something enough to create work for them. They even sometimes get more people to become interested in that fandom! So what, are they going to take DA and youtube down? I say F U!

  22. *facetwitch again* Still no FAF/S! (The “S” was for “Saturday, by the way. Since it’s Saturday and STILL no FAF or Tally has been posted!
    @80. Thank you, Jacquie-la.
    @82. Oh, you read fanfic, eh? Would you be interested in some more? *waggles eyebrows and adjusts fedora like any good salesperson* Because I know JUST where you can find some…
    Also, I don’t SOPA/PIPA has been voted on yet… if it has, I apologize as I am completely out of the loop. I hadn’t even heard about them until this blog post *looks away*

  23. @79 – I thought it was their kids, seeing as the hair colors seemed to have switched genders… (Which people always seem to do to kids… *spoiler alert* Like in the Hunger Games, Katniss’s children are a girl with blonde hair and a boy with brown… So reversed from the parents. xP)

  24. He was proving a point, okay? And maybe whoever sent it to him didn’t explain. Ever thought about that, huh? *angry face*
    Just kidding. Thanks for sharing.

  25. @ 84- Eeap! I just read chapter 15! THANK YOU! I waited SO LONG! The six days that I waited felt longer when I was living through it, although much less when I look back.
    If THAT made any sense.

  26. @79- They did look a bit too childish to be Deryn and Alek.

    Thanks again for clarifying the evil of SOPA and PIPA Mr. Westerfeld, but it’s past Friday already 🙁 ! Will -Not SOPA/Sucky- Fan-Art Friday be coming soon?

  27. 🙂

  28. Wow! I’m so late commenting, but I’m proud that my image (the ornament) was used as part of a protest! And great work EVERYONE, we kicked SOPA’s butt!

  29. Well… Mr. Westerfield, i applaud your genuine, (and hilarious) comments about this issue. I appreciate your comments and think that you are now by far one of my favorite authers, because you sniped down a bill that would harm the authers as much as everyone else.

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