Wikipedia Blackout

Wikipedia, Reddit in ‘blackout’ against SOPA, PROTECT IP laws

The English version of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia will go offline for 24 hours in protest against American anti-piracy laws, the Stop Online Piracy Act and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). The blackout will start at midnight EST (05:00 UTC) on Wednesday. The action was confirmed on Monday night with three Wikipedia administrators closing one of the most commented on policy discussions in the history of Wikipedia. According to the Wikipedia page where the issue was debated, 479 users supported a blackout only for users in the United States (with other readers seeing a banner instead), while 591 supported a global blackout.

Users who visit the site during the blackout will see a message which asks them to email their Representatives and Senators. A number of other websites are also taking part, including the social media site Reddit, the Boing Boing blog, and the sites owned by Cheezburger Network. Google also announced that they would have a link on their homepage opposing SOPA and PIPA.

Supporters of the blackout claim that the proposed laws would pose “an existential threat to Wikipedia”, and that a shutdown would be a “graphic method of driving home the point”. Opponents instead argue that the blackout threatens Wikipedia’s neutrality (one opponent wrote that “any action of this sort from Wikipedia’s side will undermine the public’s perception of Wikipedia as a politically neutral website”) and that it risks becoming involved in politics. Other opponents claimed that “SOPA does not directly endanger Wikipedia”.

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