Wikipedia Shuts Down Wednesday in Protest of SOPA/PIPA

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Community-driven online encyclopedia Wikipedia has announced plans to “go dark” this Wednesday, January 18, to protest controversial congressional bills SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act).

The outage, planned only for English-language versions of site, will last for 24 hours beginning at 05:00 UTC (that’s midnight for East Coast and 9:00 PM for the West Coast).

The planned outage has Wikipedia joining many other online sites and organizations in their public opposition to the pending congressional bills, which are designed to fight online piracy of copyrighted material. 

Both bills, however, backed by the film and music industries, have received considerable criticism for their overreaching and onerous provisions that would place a substantial burden upon sites that aggregate online content as well as impose censorship on search providers, all without judicial intervention.

“If passed, this legislation will harm the free and open Internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States,” Sue Gardner of the Wikimedia Foundation said in the statement announcing the protest.

Following the White House’s refusal this past weekend to support SOPA, it appears that the House bill is effectively dead at this point. However, its Senate sibling, PIPA, remains in play and Wikipedia’s protest hopes to draw the attention of the mainstream public to the debate, which has mostly be restricted to the tech industry up until now. According to Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, the English-language versions of Wikipedia attract 25 million visitors per day. With numbers like that, Wikipedia’s protest will surely draw attention.  

Let’s just hope, as David Pogue suggests, that everyone gets their homework done early.

Comments

Dorje Sylas

But how will people learn what SOPA is and how bad it will be? Oh, that’s right because if such a thing does pass it will negatively impact the “average joe” and we’ll revert to the early 90s where only top end computer uses who can get around the provisions in SOPA will continue to pirate and distribute materials.

Lee Dronick

But how will people learn what SOPA is and how bad it will be?

Wikipedia could, and probably will, change the page to tell people why they are closed and what they they can do about SOPA and PIPA. They will probably also ask for donations.

jfbiii

A better protest would be to crowd source a list of every US government IP address block and have participating sites drop all traffic from those blocks until SOPA disappears.

geoduck

A better protest would be to crowd source a list of every US government IP address block and have participating sites drop all traffic from those blocks until SOPA disappears.

Which they would call “Terrorism” and use that to justify SOPA+

jfbiii

That view is a little cynical, even for me.

Samie

Which they would call ?Terrorism? and use that to justify SOPA+

Nah thats not terrorism. If I am paying for and running a website i have the right to IP block anyone I so choose. Thats not terrorism thats freedom and rights

geoduck

Samie:
Agreed it’s not. But we live in a world where officials have called peaceful protests “terrorism” I’m fully confident that this is what they would do. “Terrorism” has ceased to mean anything other than “somebody is doing something that we don’t like”.

jfbiii
But then I’m faaaaar more cynical than most people.

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