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. Ah! I couldn’t stop laughing at this! You know how to get a point across in an interesting way. I enjoyed this and I am now totally against SOPA/PIPA.

  2. Way to make this issue hit home! Mr. Westerfeld I applaud you and cannot wait to see the uncensored fan art!

  3. Yes, I was just on Wiki five minutes ago attempting to look up how Cary Grant’s “Topper” was colorized (apparently first B&W movie to be colorized) but I couldn’t because it was blacked out ): I forgot even though it’s been on the news everywhere. Thanks for the explanation. Now I understand what this SOPA thing is all about.

  4. Delightful satire in the first section, Scott! Everything you’ve said is true, as well. SOPA and PIPA are poison, and the more global awareness we spread about it, the more pressure is put on the Congress to not pass these barking things!

  5. LOVE this post. I so agree. I find the whole idea borderline unconstitutional anyway. As a teacher, I “tweeted” to my senator and congressmen today:
    “Don’t censor the net. The internet has replaced textbooks which are NO LONGER gov’t funded.”

    And now… I’m going to tweet this post. Well, done.

  6. I’m glad you did this! Hopefully the government won’t do this at all anymore considering how pointless and ultimately stupid it is.

  7. While I agree with much of what you are saying about the ordinary web user/hobby webmasters, and especially the links…..but what about the behemoth money machines such as Google, Amazon (and of course the “foreign pirates” to which the bills are targeted)…should they have no responsibilty to copyright infringement and all the right in the world to gain monetarily instead of the artists? I’m not sure how the writers, photographers, etc. will fare without some protections – or what incentive there is to make a career of art in any form, if “everything” is public domain.

  8. Amen.

    Is Congress even considering the chaos this will cause? Thank you for doing this Scott, we all applaud you.

  9. I was completely confused at first, I didn’t even know what SOPA and PIPA were, but now I greatly dislike them! Mr. Westerfeld made his point. I hope he shows this art normally on the not SOPA edition Fan-Art Friday.

  10. What a horrible idea-the very though of this idea makes my fanfics scream out in horror! I had no idea that these things would all disappear if this bill goes to pass-we must put an end to our government’s madness!

  11. SOPA is not te way to go about stopping piracy. Those assholes need to stop before every site on the Internet is closed down. I like how you set it all up; using my picture and stuff.

  12. The very idea that such a bill made it to Congress is revolting and insults everything this nation stands for. Congress is made up of blind old politicians who seem to have no idea how the world functions or just don’t care so long as they stay in office and keep getting (way too much) money. If we give them the right to censor the internet we are well on our way to having a 200 word dictionary and Thought Police.

  13. The most convincing argument against SOPA I’ve seen in a week of researching. What you say is true, throughout our lifetimes there will always be people wanting to turn free and open spaces into breeding grounds for corporate greed and antipathy. We need to fight for ourselves and for future generations of creative, smart non-ass-hattish people.

    I’m such a rambler. What I meant to say was, excellent way of presenting an argument.

  14. Can’t wait till Friday hope my art gets posted!!!!!!!!!!! These rock!!(mine is UGLIES fan art!!)

  15. Thank you. I think the SOPA act is an AWFUL idea. Piracy isn’t good, but this is a horrible way to fix it. Thank goodness Obama Vetoed It.

  16. It’s like them saying “Well people rob banks. This must stop. Let’s just take away banks completely!”

  17. I… I see no…. I see no Dalek!!! No… No… no Varlow!!! Niiiiiiiiih!!! (that was an odd noise created by my life force slowly draining out of me as I stare in horror at the black boxes.) And did Obama veto it??? *pleasesayyespleasesayyes* If so, I expect a REPOST OF THESE ARTS, MR. SCOTT, SIR!!!

  18. Obama has threatened to veto the bill. It hasn’t passed congress, so he hasn’t had the opportunity to veto it yet:

    And from the White House statement:

    “Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small. Across the globe, the openness of the Internet is increasingly central to innovation in business, government, and society and it must be protected.”

  19. This is one of the stupidest, most ~~~inine (I don’t cuss) things ever thought of!! Do they WANT us to publish cartoons showing how stupid they are. Schwassinge und dummkopfs one and all, also she###kopffs (don’t cuss in German either).

  20. Scott, this is why you are brilliant.
    I like the part about how only YOU may put words into the mouths of Deryn and Alek, it just shows how WRONG SOPA IS!

  21. Uh oh. On Wattpad, a writing website, my used name is PerspicaciousLoris and my background is the Crashing a Bash April Fools Pic. But the bill won’t pass.

  22. Thanks for the explanation mr westerfeld, now i understand what SOPA & PIPA is and i definitely agree with you because world indeed need free knowledge

  23. What supporters? SOPA and PIPA have none. I think we’re safe to say that most everyone agrees it’s one of the most stupid proposals the government has ever made.

    Thanks for helping get the point across, Scott. And in quite a humorous way too.

    Although I really want to see that first drawing ;_;

  24. Best example EVER. Humorous (I was rofl-ing) case in point. Thanks for brightening my day Scott! (Now…on to homework T^T)

    SOPA/PIPA is all about the money. What has happened to America? I think Congress needs to brush-up on their Constitution reading skills, out loud. As Robert Frost once said, “The eye-reader is a barbarian.” (oops, I might get sued for quoting him without permission GASP). First amendment, do I have to sing it to you?

    As for Obama vetoing the bill, the House and Senate can still override it with a 2/3 majority vote. Let’s pray they don’t!

  25. More Spam:
    My school does 2 musicals every year and you wouldn’t BELIEVE the cost for copyrighted scripts. Moon over Buffalo was $2000. They’re practicing for Beauty and the Beast now. Guess how much Disney charges……………………$6000. Barking spiders! Imagine if SOPA/PIPA passed…man we’d all be broke and everyone else with a copyright would be swimming in dough (and then smacked with dough…real dough).

  26. If Fan Art Friday were to be like this every week, then there would be no reason to make fan art! If we can’t see it, then it can’t be enjoyed be all of us fans! Hopefully, the bill won’t be passed this year. Since, you know… Its an election year. If someone supports SOPA, and they are running for a position, not many people will like them 😛

    Anyway, thanks for showing us what FAF would look like if SOPA was passed. Its not that I support piracy, I think its wrong! Although, censoring the internet is going a little too far.

  27. I didn’t have any idea of what SOPA and PIPA were until I clicked on the link for KAISERIN ELIZABETH and it took me to Wikipedia and I read the thing on Wikipedia about SOPA and PIPA. Then YOU posted stuff about it on your blog. Awesome timing, I think. We need to make SOPA and PIPA tee shirts.

    Speaking of fanfiction…..
    Oi, Miles! Where’s chapter 15?????

  28. You know, wouldn’t Miles’ fanfic not be illegal because she starts every chapter with “I own none of this”?

  29. clever… but since scott as the author doesnt mind fan art, it means it isnt piracy so it wouldnt be effected that dramatically. you cant be a thief if the owner encourages you to steal

  30. I think SOPA and PIPA mean well. The reason they want this a law is to stop piracy. They are VERY lazy about it though. They shouldnt sue every one just because the rights belong to someone else and they, say, make a parody of it. Especially when it doesno harm. If they want to end piracy they should try harder than to just censor EVERYTHING?

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