My SOPA Post

01.16.2012 | 11:06 am

Really, I meant to black my blog out today, in opposition to SOPA. It was totally going to look like this:

Click to enlarge image for greater detail

And then I realized that there were two very important problems with this plan, which I shall list below:

  1. I’m kinda hoping for a lot of traffic this month, because Competitive Cyclist is doing a little bit of a trial balloon on my blog, seeing whether it’s worth it to advertise here. I’d kinda like that answer to come out “yes.” Totally killing ads for a day wouldn’t exactly serve my purposes, and in fact would be at least mildly ironic. (Bonus challenge for motivated readers: try real hard to see if you can find a Competitive Cyclist ad on my site. I know, it’s not easy.)
  2. The odds are very good that if I somehow managed to black out my site today, I’d never figure out how to get it un-blacked out tomorrow.
  3. Like BSNYC, I haven’t exactly spent a ton of time researching SOPA / PIPA, and so am not really all that prepared to march in a virtual picket line.
  4. It’s just too bold a stance to take. My neck out-sticking is pretty much limited to telling people that it’s nice to be nice. Which was pretty darn out-there, I realize.

202-ShimanoUltegraDi2-240x240.gifThat said, I am a fast learner, and — trying to do my civic duty and whatnot — have spent about fifteen minutes on the web trying to figure out what SOPA / PIPA mean.


First off, I learned that SOPA stands for “Stop Online Piracy Act.” Which sounds good, because we all like to act like we don’t steal music off the web, except for when we talk with other people who steal music off the web, in which circumstances we tend to brag about how much music we’ve stolen off the web.

Except me, by the way. I haven’t stolen a single song off the web, ever. At least, not since Napster went under.

Anyways, the problem with SOPA is that it’s too expansive. It overshoots piracy and lands in the realm of censorship. And as a guy who goes out of his way to make it easy to communicate (I leave my commenting system totally open), that feels manifestly uncool.


PIPA on the other hand, isn’t even an acronym. It’s just a silly sound. OK, that’s not true. PIPA stands for Protect IP Act. Here, “IP” stands for “Internet Protocol.” Honestly, I didn’t even know Internet Protocols were under attack, so I don’t know what the big deal is here.

OK, fine. “IP” in this instance probably stands for “Intellectual Property.” And PIPA actually stands for Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (really!), which means that whoever created this bill put a whole bunch of words together that don’t make any sense at all in the order they’re in, hoping nobody would notice and would just call the act “PROTECT IP.”

Of course, that acronym only works if you’re friends with the guy who created the bill and place the space where he wanted. Otherwise you could call it “PROTEC TIP,” which makes it sound like a badly-named brand of condom. Which is actually pretty metaphorically accurate.

So which is worse, “PROTEC TIP” or “PIPA?” You’ll have to decide for yourself.

Call To Action

Here’s what to do: go to Google’s SOPA/PIPA landing page and sign the petition, because — as you know — petitions pretty much always work.

Or better yet, you could actually contact your representatives. Wikipedia has a nice tool to help you find out who they are and how to contact them, accessible right from their home page.

Thank you. Oh, and just for fun, here’s that black square again.



  1. Comment by GrizzlyAdam | 01.18.2012 | 11:19 am

    It’s good to stick you neck out once in a while.

  2. Comment by NSR | 01.18.2012 | 11:27 am

    Fatty, I’m happy you’re getting advertising interest to support your other projects, but would it be possible to not have the annoying, blinking Competitive Cyclist ads? They’re distracting and just make it hard to read your award winning writing.

  3. Comment by Bruce | 01.18.2012 | 11:28 am

    And gosh darn it…be nice to others…

  4. Comment by Andrew | 01.18.2012 | 11:30 am

    Are you telling me that PIPA is an acronym that has an acronym inside another acronym?

  5. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 01.18.2012 | 11:30 am

    Fatty- What a dilemma. If I go to the Competitive Cyclist site (Like I did Tuesday) I’ll see a serious collection of really cool stuff(like that Di2 Ultegra). And given the weather here in California this week (26 degrees yesterday morn-I know warm for you) the Assos bib tights were looking pretty attractive. If I succumb to that temptation then I will have less dollars for your many causes. How ’bout…..

    As a Superstar Internet Blogging Comedic Genius, maybe you could swing a deal with CC to donate a portion of the profits from all CC Sales that come to their site from the FC site to your charity d’jour.

    And then there’s the issue of LBS, oh my! I’m going to Wikipedia right now to figure out what to do.

  6. Comment by chivo | 01.18.2012 | 11:33 am

    Maybe this isn’t the best soapbox for this, but as someone who deals with IP infringement on a daily basis… Please read the actual text of the bills before reaching a judgment on what they mean.
    (SOPA) and
    I don’t think they mean what wikipedia or google tells you they mean (censorship). I really don’t care where people stand on them, but I do find it troubling when we just repeat what others say without doing the actual research.

  7. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 01.18.2012 | 11:33 am

    And I thought PIPA was Kate Middleton’s sister. Apparently I wasn’t reading the right magazines in the checkout line at Safeway.

  8. Comment by RobinO | 01.18.2012 | 11:44 am

    Thanks for the links Chivo!

  9. Comment by Clydesteve | 01.18.2012 | 11:51 am

    PIPA kind of reminds me of an old Dilbert comic:

    I know, it is disturbingly nerdy that I remember the correct keyword from a comic from 18 years ago. I probably could not do that if the web were censored.

  10. Comment by roan | 01.18.2012 | 11:53 am

    The things I’ve learned from Fatty. PI(E)r square(nope they are delicious).
    Then today’s posting a black-out section with caption, “Click to enlarge image for greater detail”.
    WOW… should I or shouldn’t I as my hand poised above the mouse. I pondered with coffee cup to my lips with my left hand I realized it was too hot. To avoid a melt down of my keyboard I inadvertently clicked on the mouse. Result…I always thought Black Holes were round. Reading on Fatty clearly points out they are square, sorta like where most of my comments will get sucked into with SOPA/PIPA.

  11. Comment by Sherrill | 01.18.2012 | 12:05 pm

    Fatty- very entertaining. You make me laugh, but thats what it’s all about, right?

  12. Comment by GenghisKhan | 01.18.2012 | 1:00 pm

    ALERT: The following witty comments from “GenghisKhan” have been removed from this blog as an experimental enforcement of the proposed SOPA/PIPA act. END ALERT

  13. Comment by Onomastic | 01.18.2012 | 1:07 pm

    Because of my affection for Fatty, the balance of this comment will be blank so as to avoid an inadvertent link or reference that could subject him to suit [______________________________________________________________________________________________________].

  14. Comment by KM | 01.18.2012 | 1:15 pm

    Darn, at first when I started reading today’s post, all I read was blah, blah, SOPA blah. SO I starting thinking about sopapillas..I mean it’s an obvious tangent. Then I started thinking of mexican food…so after lunch,…mmmm sopapilas, I tried to finish the rest of today’s post but only after I tried to read Stevil’s blog (AHTBM) and then check Wikipedia to figure out what SOPA actually meant, but both were strangely blacked out?? Anyway, after skipping this whole SOPA part of today’s post I ended up seeing PIPA. I was with davidh-marin and thought it was some kind of protest of Kate Middleton’s sister, which is a shame, she seems so nice and is easy on the eyes but then there was the droning blah, blah, PIPA, blah again. So I ate another sopapilla, but only 1/2.

  15. Comment by George | 01.18.2012 | 1:31 pm

    I always enjoy the M*A*S*H references. Thanks for being nice Fatty!

  16. Comment by Jacob | 01.18.2012 | 1:32 pm

    Competitive Cyclist was the very first banner at the top of the page. It’s saying that Basques are a superior race to all others. Did you know that they’re genetically similar to the Welsh despite having not having languages from the same family?

    I actually haven’t illegally downloaded music for years. It’s not because I’m a good person, it’s because when the illegal Napster shut down, I was nervous about the safety of the content on other sites (and I’m not an internet security expert by any means), and one of my friends got a legal letter threatening action for his downloading activities. That was enough to make me go straight.

  17. Comment by Jacob | 01.18.2012 | 1:33 pm

    And the Basque thing was a joke. The ad mentioned something about the Basques and I took it from there.

  18. Comment by MattC | 01.18.2012 | 1:45 pm

    There’s such a thing as internet Piracy? How on earth do you commandeer a ship at sea from your computer? Or is it actually comandeering the internet? All I need to know is, “is there buried treasure involved?” Sheesh…the stuff you learn here at Fattys.

  19. Comment by KanyonKris | 01.18.2012 | 1:56 pm

    That black box graphic must have taken hours to make. Kudos.

  20. Comment by centurion | 01.18.2012 | 1:57 pm

    The banner add, ok Fatty gotta pay bills too.
    Those two other adds, mid page, and at the end. A good way to drive readers away. IMHO.

  21. Comment by Terry | 01.18.2012 | 2:12 pm

    All this talk about SOPA/PIPA makes me really want some sopapilla’s. With some honey butter. MMMMM.

  22. Comment by Jeff Bike | 01.18.2012 | 2:31 pm

    Let me try to understand! Is Mrs. Middleton a Sopapilla eating pirate from the Basque country? I would have never guessed. I thought she was English. She looks like such a nice girl. I better ask Mrs. Potter.

  23. Comment by kimbro | 01.18.2012 | 3:02 pm

    So fatty supports censorship and hates LBSs?

  24. Comment by nh_joe | 01.18.2012 | 3:04 pm

    On a non-SOPA issue – I like the Competitive Cyclist website, I hate their ads. I can’t finish a sentence without being distracted by their constantly changing ad. Their ads on other sites tend to discourage me from reading the articles I start because they are so annoying.

  25. Comment by Joe | 01.18.2012 | 3:42 pm

    I clicked on the Competitive Cyclist link from your article today. Now every web page I visit contains Competitive Cyclist ads. Most recently a Salon page contained 3 Competitive Cyclist ads. I have always enjoyed your blog and tried to support your sponsors, but how is this different from spam? I will continue to read Fat Cyclist but will be a little cautious about clicking on your sponsors. Anyone know how long these ads will keep appearing?

  26. Comment by Skippy | 01.18.2012 | 3:56 pm

    With very limited broadband the fluctuating ads will block out your blog ! Guess i need to move house to read your blog in real time !
    Wanted to comment on the smear item about LiveSTRONG but couldn’t get thru like another of your regulars !

    Both of these ” bills” would need work before they are acceptable to ” Free Thinking Bloggers” ! Some of your humour would dissappear and that would be unacceptable ! Your blog would finish up like mine only worththe occasional visit .

  27. Comment by Meredith S | 01.18.2012 | 4:34 pm

    Yes, please at least negotiate out the flashing graphic in the middle of the article. It is distracting from your writing and makes me less likely to click on the link. Blinking ads trigger the “scam” lightbulb in my head for some reason anyway. I hope you get the contract if it is profitable for you, but I hope you make sure some revisions are made to ensure the integrity of your wonderful blog.

    The placement of the ads is entirely up to me. This feedback is useful. Thanks! – FC

  28. Comment by dicky | 01.18.2012 | 5:23 pm

    No 2 scared me as well. My lame attempt at a blackout was only because I figured a total blackout would remove me from the virtual world forever.

  29. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 01.18.2012 | 6:01 pm

    I’m just glad our Congress is finally deciding these ‘weighty’ issues.
    I’ll leave it to others smarter than me to decide:



    I also found out a sopa-pilla is 108 calories. Probably without the honey.

    Nutrition Facts

    Calories in Sopapilla

    Serving Size: 1 serving

    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 128.0
    Total Fat 6.0 g
    Saturated Fat 1.0 g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
    Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
    Cholesterol 0.0 mg
    Sodium 236.0 mg
    Potassium 44.0 mg
    Total Carbohydrate 16.0 g
    Dietary Fiber 1.0 g
    Sugars 2.0 g

  30. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 01.18.2012 | 6:02 pm

    That was a rather LARGE SOPA, sorry.

  31. Comment by Dillon Bikes | 01.18.2012 | 7:05 pm

    Thanks for not blacking out the site today! I enjoyed the read. I was wondering what SOPA meant. Good luck with getting Competitive Cyclist on board.

  32. Comment by Skippy | 01.19.2012 | 12:19 am

    Refreshed the fat page this am and found an additional 8 comments BUT it cost a megabyte where in the past it could be a few kilobytes . With u/load & d/load of 16b/sec I now have to wait some additional time for the page to load whilst the ads flash through several cycles ( no pun ) ! Are there others like me with marginal internet reception ? Competitive Cyclist is now competing against on my computer and WINNING !

  33. Comment by Cookster | 01.19.2012 | 6:10 am

    Unfortunately I run a browser that strips ads from the pages and therefore I cannot find the link the Competitive Cyclist as it doesn’t exist in my browser (thank you Albert, realativity is a grand thing).

  34. Comment by Geordie Mullet | 01.19.2012 | 9:39 am

    Too many Ads Fatty :-(

  35. Comment by Ginger | 01.19.2012 | 9:53 am

    Sounds like a great idea — stop online piracy and intellectual property theft — absolutely no way to enforce it and will place incredible burden on internet providers and hosting sites.

  36. Comment by Dan | 01.19.2012 | 10:18 am

    Dar Fatty,

    I was just thinking to myself “I really need a picture of a black box to protest SOPA, PIPA, PROTEC TIP, Executive pay, MY pay…or something” So THANK YOU for posting the lovely photo of a black box! I like your sense of color and composition. The subtle use of light and shading is magnificent. Oh, and a special “thank you” for not putting any anti-piracy protection on what is clearly your own unique intellectual property.

    I immediately downloaded it and saved it to my computer so I can use it for personal use and share it with my millions (okay…maybe 6) friends.

    What are we protesting again? I forget…my brain hurts.

    I’m going for a ride…

  37. Comment by rabidrunner | 01.20.2012 | 8:50 pm

    That was spectacular. That’s all.

  38. Comment by peter | 01.21.2012 | 3:55 pm

    as the owner/ operator of an LBS, I’m no fan of Competitive Cyclist (and pretty much all other on-line parts sales houses). but since I can’t afford to advertise on Mr.Nelsons blog…. A brother has bills to pay.


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