Wikipedia joins others in 24-hour blackout to protest SOPA

By Lee Kaelin on January 17, 2012, 8:30 AM

Online encyclopedia Wikipedia became the latest high profile website to announce its intention to stage a 24-hour blackout on Wednesday January 18 in protest of the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act, just days after Reddit confirmed to the world it was doing the same.

The decision that will affect around 100 million visitors to the English language version of the website was made after a month long discussion by its members. "This is by far the largest level of participation in a community discussion ever seen on Wikipedia, which illustrates the level of concern that Wikipedian’s feel about this proposed legislation," a statement on the Wikimedia Foundation website read.

Wikipedia and Reddit are also joined by Anonymous, who will be staging a blackout on all communications between 8am and 8pm on the same day. Wikipedia’s founder, Jimmy Wales took to Twitter yesterday proclaiming, "this is going to be wow. I hope Wikipedia will melt phone systems in Washington on Wednesday. Tell everyone you know!"

"Today Wikipedians from around the world have spoken about their opposition to this destructive legislation. This is an extraordinary action for our community to take - and while we regret having to prevent the world from having access to Wikipedia for even a second, we simply cannot ignore the fact that SOPA and PIPA endanger free speech both in the United States and abroad, and set a frightening precedent of Internet censorship for the world," Wales said in a longer statement on Wikipedia.

Despite being used as a springboard to spread the news across the internet, Twitter will not being taking part in the protests. "Closing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish," Twitter CEO Dick Costolo tweeted after reading that Wikipedia would be closing its services for the day. After facing a backlash, he later clarified that he was responding regarding his firm's stance, rather than commenting about Wikipedia.

Other tech companies strongly opposing the new legislation such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Adobe have made no announcements either, and aren’t expected to be taking part, although it is possible some of them might display links on their homepages as a sign of support.




User Comments: 24

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Guest said:

+1 for Wikipedia!

Will Techspot be joining the protest?

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Agreed, I really hope even more websites join, soo many people i know who have no clue what SOPA is and a blackout of some of these websites such as Wiki will mean they will actually read up on it.

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

+1 for Wikipedia!

Will Techspot be joining the protest?

hehe Techspot gotta keep us informed! :P

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

Well, I hope nobody has any papers to write that are due on Wednesday!

MilwaukeeMike said:

Ok, now that the WHITE HOUSE has joined the ranks of groups against SOPA, can't we just forget about it? It's quickly devolving from something we need to worry about into something meaningless. (I know it's great headlines 'n all)

Or of course we could learn from it, and maybe cut down on priacy on our own so we don't have SOPA 2.0 next year at this time when we don't have a president afraid to upset anyone in an election year.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

As much as I will miss Wikipedia for the day, I'm still all for it . Too many people do not even know what SOPA is sadly. I asked a lot of my non-techie friends and the best I got is "well I've heard of it" but they don't have a clue what its about. Most of them gave me a blank confused look.

More websites that join in on this and spread the work the better. I would love to see a site like Facebook shut down . (Really doubt they would tho ).

Lurker101 said:

Last I heard, the likes of Facebook and Google were on the blackout list, although for a shorter period of time.

SantistaUSA said:

Wednesday is my day off :'( well it is for a good cause!

stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

Lurker101 said:

Last I heard, the likes of Facebook and Google were on the blackout list, although for a shorter period of time.

Hope so, without Google my job is going to be more of a pain.

Guest said:

every techspot reader already knows. that would be useless.

jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

As you mak know,

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as House Bill 3261 or H.R. 3261

is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011, by House Judiciary Committee Chair Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) and a bipartisan group of 12 initial co-sponsors. The bill, if made law, would expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. Presented to the House Judiciary Committee, it builds on the similar PRO-IP Act of 2008 and the corresponding Senate bill, the PROTECT IP Act.

see the Wikipedia description for further details

Major sites participating include:

* reddit

* Wikipedia

* Mozilla

* Failblog, rest of the Cheezburger Network

* Boing Boing

The Webpronews.com article includes instructions for loading the Simple Stop SOPA WordPress plugin. It will blackout your site and show the following message in white:

This site has been blocked in protest of the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) two bills which will allow the government to censor the internet. Find out more at americancensorship.org or the video below. This website will return at 8pm.

should you control your own website and wish to participate.

BE SURE to read the comments on the Webpronews article to get a balanced view on the issue.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Sorry to play devil's advocate here... but from the Wikipedia page...

The supporters of the bill say it will protect intellectual property, industry, jobs and revenue, and they site an example. The opponents say it violates the 1st Amendment, cripple the internet, and they have no example of what it might do? Really... cripple the internet? SOPA's going to break my email, facebook, google and amazon all at once huh?

In my experience the group who uses the strategy of gross exaggeration with no example of what might actually happen is usually the group who's wrong.

I'm not saying i'm supporting SOPA, but i need to hear a better argument than the over-used 1st Amendment and 'cripple the internet'

NeoFryBoy said:

milwaukeemike said:

[...]

In my experience the group who uses the strategy of gross exaggeration with no example of what might actually happen is usually the group who's wrong.

I'm not saying i'm supporting SOPA, but i need to hear a better argument than the over-used 1st Amendment and 'cripple the internet'

Give someone power and they'll probably abuse it. ie. When political groups in power begin shutting down the sites of opposing political groups. You could say that's not likely to happen, or you could just stop it from being able to happen.

The difference between foresight and hindsight.

marinkvasina marinkvasina said:

All it takes is for fb to be down for 1day, everyone would rage , 300% increase in suicides

and then noone would support Sopa

yRaz yRaz said:

neofryboy said:

Give someone power and they'll probably abuse it. ie. When political groups in power begin shutting down the sites of opposing political groups. You could say that's not likely to happen, or you could just stop it from being able to happen.

The difference between foresight and hindsight.

That is the smartest thing I've heard in a long time,

+1

Guest said:

^ This right here. Everybody read this and take it in. I can see something like this happening in the future=

JudaZ said:

milwaukeemike said:

Sorry to play devil's advocate here... but from the Wikipedia page...

The supporters of the bill say it will protect intellectual property, industry, jobs and revenue, and they site an example. The opponents say it violates the 1st Amendment, cripple the internet, and they have no example of what it might do? Really... cripple the internet? SOPA's going to break my email, facebook, google and amazon all at once huh?

In my experience the group who uses the strategy of gross exaggeration with no example of what might actually happen is usually the group who's wrong.

I'm not saying i'm supporting SOPA, but i need to hear a better argument than the over-used 1st Amendment and 'cripple the internet'

Yes it might actually force Google as a search engine to be useless. Since if they link to anything related to anything that the Media Mafia claim is a copyright infringement, they can be sued. ..A search enging responsible for what it links to??? It is absurd.

Guest said:

between 8am and 8pm on the same day

technically this is just 12 hours

slamscaper slamscaper said:

Google is now linking users to a petition that protests SOPA. I just signed it myself and I would advise anyone that's against this madness to do the same. Google's main page contains the link.

Leeky Leeky said:

between 8am and 8pm on the same day

technically this is just 12 hours

Reddit and Anonymous, and others are doing 8am til 8pm.

Wikipedia stated it was going dark for the full 24 hours. Read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

Guest said:

Yawn like working people will actually take notice.

MilwaukeeMike said:

slamscaper said:

Google is now linking users to a petition that protests SOPA. I just signed it myself and I would advise anyone that's against this madness to do the same. Google's main page contains the link.

A FAR FAR better solution than this current fad of protesting that involves sticking it to the average joe. Wikipedia shuts down, who suffers? Us right, and we already don't support SOPA. Occupy Whatever city is upset, and who suffers? The average worker who can't use the roads because they're trying to make a point.

I'm really sick of these groups using this 'I'm mad about something, so i'm going to slap YOU in the face' method of protest.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm really sick of these groups using this 'I'm mad about something, so i'm going to slap YOU in the face' method of protest.
No matter how you protest, it would be considered a slap in the face. The more effective protest would be a greater slap in the face, you must be asking for a less effective solution.

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

"I'm really sick of these groups using this 'I'm mad about something, so i'm going to slap YOU in the face' method of protest"

Well I think the "I'm mad about something so I am going to tickle you" method of protest was sort of ineffective.

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