Protests Against SOPA and PIPA
The English version of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia blacks out its website at midnight Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, January 18, 2011 for 24 hours in protest against anti-piracy laws being proposed in the US. Wikipedia is considered one of the Internet’s most popular websites, with millions of visitors daily.
The Stop Online Piracy Act in the US House of Representatives and the Protect Intellectual Property Act under consideration in the Senate would allow the US authorities to seek to block sites that allow illegal file sharing.
Users who visited the English Wikipedia just before midnight Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday were greeted with a message on the main page that read:
In less than 1 hour, the English Wikipedia will be blacked out globally to protest SOPA and PIPA.
Then just at midnight Eastern Standard Time (05:00 GMT) on Wednesday English Wikipedia blacked out globally. The site is unavailable for 24 hours and is replaced by a black screen with information about the protest:
Without Free Knowledge
For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia.
SOPA and PIPA – Learn more
Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia who first announced the move on his Twitter account Monday, said the bills are a threat to the free, open, and secure web.
Jimmy Wales (@jimmy_wales) has been tweeting about the proposed Black Wednesday protest.
First, he warned students to do their homework early.
Then he announced the official hashtags to use as #WikipediaBlackout #sopa and #pipa.
Later, he made the formal announcement about the Black Wednesday protest in a press release.
Wikipedia issued a press release on January 16, 2012:
English Wikipedia to go dark
On January 18, 2012, in an unprecedented decision, the Wikipedia community has chosen to blackout the English version of Wikipedia for 24 hours, in protest against proposed legislation in the United States — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and PROTECTIP (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate. 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.
Read the full story on Wikipedia
Several internet companies such as user-generated news site Reddit, the blog Boing-Boing, Mozilla, the Cheezburger network and others are also taking part in the blackout against the Hollywood-backed legislation.
Google has placed a link on it’s home page today protesting anti-piracy measures in the US Congress.
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is the bill being considered by the House of Representatives.
The Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) is the parallel bill being considered by the Senate.
The US bills are designed to block access to sites containing unauthorized copyright material.
Content owners and the US government would be given the power to request court orders to shut down sites associated with piracy.
US-based internet service providers, payment processors and advertisers would be forbidden from doing business with alleged copyright infringers.
Sopa also requires search engines to remove foreign infringing sites from their results, a provision absent in Pipa.
Supporters of the bills include television networks, music publishers, movie industry bodies, book publishers and manufacturers.
Critics include Wikipedia and other tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, Boing-Boing, Yahoo, eBay, Mozilla, AOL and Zynga.