No, it’s not some new children’s book. Although a big lovable elephant named Pipa who follows his favorite bar of soap on a jungle adventure sure sounds cute. Or like a prison allegory turned horribly wrong.

Actually, a prison allegory would be tame compared to what PIPA | SOPA really is. (And if PIPA | SOPA have their way, the allegory would never get air time for poking fun at a government system).

Here’s why.

The Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House are new government regulations designed to thwart online piracy. Sounds noble, right? Except that there are already numerous national and international laws on the books that accomplish this pretty well, successfully disbanding copyright infringing entities.

When you read the fine print, these two measures are actually allowing unprecedented government access into our most accessible vehicle for the freedom of speech: the internet.

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but the US Government breaks everything it touches. Heck, it can’t even turn a profit delivering mail!

My friend Christian Fahey pointed out an incredible statistic on his blog recently:

If you started a business the day Jesus was born and managed it so poorly that it lost $1,000,000.00 a day up until the present day, you would have just over 2 trillion dollars of loss (that’s 2,000,000,000,000). That is 1/7 of our national debt, which is today over 15 trillion dollars. (Thanks to Chuck Missler for the analogy.)

The bottom line is our government either outspends positive cash flow and puts public entities in debt, or it over regulates and puts private entities in debt (and out of business).

With such mismanagement, do you really trust our Congress to properly manage the internet?

Although since AL Gore did invent it, maybe they have a right to and don’t even need to vote.

Please watch this video by first, then consider writing your Congressional Representatives through their web form. While you’re at it, sign Google’s petition too.

If you have a differing viewpoint than mine, I’d love to read your comments. And if you share the same, or if you want to add to the dialog, you’re always welcome to comment (but you already knew that). ch:


UPDATE 01.20.11: I just received this email from Tiffiniy Cheng, spokeswoman for, (as did you if you signed up with them) and thought it was worth posting. Great job everyone!

Hi everyone!

A big hurrah to you!!!!! We’ve won for now — SOPA and PIPA were dropped by Congress today — the votes we’ve been scrambling to mobilize against have been cancelled.

The largest online protest in history has fundamentally changed the game.  You were heard.

On January 18th, 13 million of us took the time to tell Congress to protect free speech rights on the internet. Hundreds of millions, maybe a billion, people all around the world saw what we did on Wednesday.  See the amazing numbers here and tell everyone what you did.

This was unprecedented. Your activism may have changed the way people fight for the public interest and basic rights forever.

The MPAA (the lobby for big movie studios which created these terrible bills) was shocked and seemingly humbled.  “‘This was a whole new different game all of a sudden,’ MPAA Chairman and former Senator Chris Dodd told the New York Times. ‘[PIPA and SOPA were] considered by many to be a slam dunk.’”

“’This is altogether a new effect,’ Mr. Dodd said, comparing the online movement to the Arab Spring. He could not remember seeing ‘an effort that was moving with this degree of support change this dramatically’ in the last four decades, he added.”  

Tweet with us, shout on the internet with us, let’s celebrate: Round of applause to the 13 million people who stood up  – #PIPA and #SOPA are tabled 4 now. #13millionapplause

We’re indebted to everyone who helped in the beginning of this movement — you, and all the sites that went out on a limb to protest in November — Boing Boing and Mozilla Foundation (and thank you Tumblr, 4chan)! And the grassroots groups — Public Knowledge, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Demand Progress, CDT, and many more.

We changed the game this fall, and we’re not gonna stop.

13 million strong,

Tiffiniy, Holmes, Joshua, Phil, CJ, Donny, Douglas, Nicholas, Dean, David S. and Moore… Fight for the Future!

P.S.  China’s internet censorship system reminds us why the fight for democratic principles is so important:

In the New Yorker:  “Fittingly, perhaps, the discussion has unfolded on Weibo, the Twitter-like micro-blogging site that has a team of censors on staff to trim posts with sensitive political content. That is the arrangement that opponents of the bill have suggested would be required of American sites if they are compelled to police their users’ content for copyright violations. On Weibo, joking about SOPA’s similarities to Chinese censorship was sensitive enough that some posts on the subject were almost certainly deleted (though it can be hard to know).

After Chinese Web users got over the strangeness of hearing Americans debate the merits of screening the Web for objectionable content, they marvelled at the American response. Commentator Liu Qingyan wrote:

‘We should learn something from the way these American Internet companies protested against SOPA and PIPA. A free and democratic society depends on every one of us caring about politics and fighting for our rights. We will not achieve it by avoiding talk about politics.’”



Christian Fahey · 19 Jan ’12 at 8:46 am

“With such mismanagement, do you really trust our Congress to properly manage the internet?” Spot on, C. This is not so much about protecting art as it is an encroachment on liberty, by a power center increasingly showing its teeth in that direction. Yours and your family’s background in arts and art creation give you an inside understanding of piracy and the ethical matters involved. But shutting down the internet isn’t the solution. I believe in freedom of speech and press even though it allows for the publication of deleterious material. Once you censor that, you can sensor things like Scripture. Good post (and thanks for the plug!)!

    Christopher Hopper · 19 Jan ’12 at 11:45 am

    (Ah, you’re most welcome!).

    The interesting things about piracy is the only entities it really hurts are the large companies that publish material. In fact, in a round about way, one of the reasons artists – both literary and musical – are going indie or self-published is because the viral proliferation their work actually increases their fan base and therefore future sales of new material. Obviously it’s not entirely true all of the time, but the spirit of it is one major incentive for art makers to embrace recognition. I dare say the first time you find out your stuff ie being pirated and circulated, its a badge of popularity.

    Christian Fahey · 19 Jan ’12 at 6:55 pm

    Man, that’s a good point, Christopher. It is analogous to the Open Source Initiative (everything from Linux, MySQL to Wikipedia). By being open-handed with their art, these artists are probably increasing their sales and without a doubt exponentially increasing their exposure. And, there are other ways to combat piracy that have worked beautifully (iTunes Store, NoiseTrade).

      Christopher Hopper · 20 Jan ’12 at 8:36 am

      NoiseTrade: I still remember the first time Derek Webb sent out an email when the idea was in development. And I paraphrase: “We don’t believe people actually want to steal music; they just don’t want to pay $22.99 for a CD. So let’s give them their music for free, and we’ll simply ask for something in return.” And NoiseTrade exploded onto the scene.

      iTunes: capitalism and a free market may not be the perfect thing, but it sure is the best thing we have going on the planet. Perfect example of a creative idea being birthed out of the private sector, solving major legal issues, revolutionizing the delivery method (and record industry model), and making happy customers in one giant swoop.

Stephen Byers · 19 Jan ’12 at 9:36 am

Taking away freedoms to protect from injustice or correct some wrong has never been the answer. Sadly this has been the US governments MO for quite a while. I have watched them do this with the Second Amendment as well as Immigration. There are plenty of laws on the books, for all three of these issues, that will manage and protect from abuse. Simply enforce what what is already the law.
I couldnt help seeing a correlation between the way the US government operates and religion and legalism. When you can’t find the answers create a new law and take freedom from those you are trying to govern. When something is broke then we must be doing something wrong so lets make the yoke a little heavier. Freedom (like salvation) has been freely given to us by those that have come before and purchased it in blood. Our only respoonsibility is to walk in this freedom and be care takers of it. NEVER are we supposed to give it away or let it be taken. When I look at things like PIPA (not to be confused with Pippa Middleton) and SOPA I realize more and more that without culture change our nation is headed for some very dark days. Great post as always bro.

    Christopher Hopper · 19 Jan ’12 at 11:50 am

    Lots of good thoughts here, Stephen. Thanks for enriching the conversation. The comparison to other contexts that are suffering from the same type of meaningless bureaucracy is very insightful, especially your correlation to the Christian faith. Never thought of it that way.

    So let’s talk more about Pipa Middleton, shall we? 😉

gabe · 19 Jan ’12 at 10:43 am

i suppose i hadn’t really thought about it that way before. all i thought was that wikipedia was overreacting when they shut down the english portion of their sight yesterday. i still think they did indeed overreact, but still… i didn’t realize this SOPA thing was really such bad news.

    Christopher Hopper · 19 Jan ’12 at 11:51 am

    Gabe: yeah, it’s pretty bad. Thanks for reading and considering. If this passes it will effect your generation even more in the future.

gabe · 19 Jan ’12 at 10:44 am

i like the picture you used in this post, bytheway. lol!

    Christopher Hopper · 19 Jan ’12 at 11:51 am

    Ha ha, thanks. I was having fun with Photoshop.

    gabe · 19 Jan ’12 at 9:28 pm

    ah, yes
    photoshop is awesome

Kevin Zoll · 19 Jan ’12 at 11:50 am

As the owner of 2 websites and 2 software titles, I aggressively defend my Intellectual Property; as should all authors, artists, and programmers. The Protect IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act are seriously flawed pieces of legislation. Software Piracy, copyright infringement, and counterfeit goods are very serious problems. The entities behind this legislation are attempting to protect an outdated business model, that simply can not compete in the digital global markets.

As Stephen has pointed out, law already exists to deal with the problem. We need to do a better job of using the tools available, instead of stripping liberty from the governed.

There is an alternative to PIPA/SOPA, currently open to public comment, the Online Protection & ENforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN)

    Christopher Hopper · 19 Jan ’12 at 12:00 pm

    “The entities behind this legislation are attempting to protect an outdated business model, that simply can not compete in the digital global markets.”

    What a perfect statement.

    And thanks for the heads up and link on the OPEN Act.

    Love having your thoughts on this stuff, Kevin.

Billy Jepma · 19 Jan ’12 at 11:51 am

I can’t believe this is actually a real thing! When I first heard of it, I was blown away that this was actually being considered. They’re taking away freedom of speech! I’ve been praying it gets shut down, quickly. Tossed away and forgotten about. Great post as well, was looking forward to reading your thoughts on the matter.
P.S. Fantastic picture!

    Christopher Hopper · 19 Jan ’12 at 12:02 pm

    Yeah, I liked making that pic, too. It’s fun to use imagery to create satire at times.

    It’s certainly a good thing to pray about, Billy; it will affect your generation significantly in the future if it passes.

Beth · 19 Jan ’12 at 12:31 pm

Good post. I wasn’t up to date on exactly what was going on. That’s my fault for not paying attention. I feel our generation and those coming up behind us are in the dark about exactly what the government is trying to control. We aren’t being taught what our freedoms are and aren’t researching it. I here it all to many times “I don’t care for politics, what they do doesn’t affect me” That is so wrong. What happens with the government may not affect us directly, but it will our kids.

The government seems to want to control everything. But if we are aware of what is going on and get out and vote for our freedoms. Its up to us to educate our selves and teach others what this country was founded on. The principles and vision of our founding fathers. Face it when was the last time you looked at the Constitution or even the Bill of Rights? I am guilty of it too.

“Article the third [Amendment I]

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

P.S. Don’t forget to remember our government in your daily prayers.

    Christopher Hopper · 19 Jan ’12 at 5:56 pm

    “‘I don’t care for politics, what they do doesn’t affect me.’ That is so wrong.”

    I couldn’t agree more. Especially when Christians say it. We are challenged in numerous places throughout scripture to be civic-minded and be stewards of the welfare of others, or communities, and our governing bodies.

Pathfinder · 19 Jan ’12 at 4:44 pm

Sounds like a precursor to the nightmares I get sometimes. Not. Fun.

Octavio Bermeo · 16 Feb ’12 at 11:57 am

Bonjour, nous nous sommes rencontrés lors du rencontre jeunes à Longwy en mai 2003. Nous venions de Montpellier. Je suis colombien, et actuellement je suis pasteur dans une église à Chambéry. Serait-il possible d’organiser une rencontre ? Contacte-moi par mail. Hasta la vista Octavio

    Christopher Hopper · 16 Feb ’12 at 3:13 pm

    Bonjour Octavio. Wow! Super! Je vais t’escris…

Comments are closed.