Wikipedia Plans Web Blackout in Protest!

The proposed anti-piracy bill in the US Congress has sparked protest amongst online bigwigs and Wikipedia is the latest in line. It has announced that it will shut down its website on Wednesday for 24 hours. The user-generated news website Reddit and Boing Boing blog will join them in the protest.

The online piracy act is called 'Stop Online Piracy Act' or SOPA in short. Surprisingly, Twitter will not be taking part in the blackout and won't be joining the online protest.

The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales said to the BBC, "Proponents of Sopa have characterised the opposition as being people who want to enable piracy or defend piracy. But that's not really the point. The point is the bill is so over broad and so badly written that it's going to impact all kinds of things that, you know, don't have anything to do with stopping piracy." Another similar bill is making way in the US Congress called Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).

Both these bills are designed to curb access to those websites that consist of non-copyright material. Any website that contains pirated material can be ordered via court to shut down. They will not only be ordered to shut down their services, but they will also be stopped from associating with any advertisers, internet service providers and the like - by law. One difference between Sopa and Pipa is that Sopa will need the search engines to delete the websites (with pirated contents) from the search results.

SOPA Gorilla
Image courtesy: flickr

Wikipedia has issued this statement, "While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cyber security risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global internet. We don't think Sopa is going away, and Pipa is still quite active. Moreover, Sopa and Pipa are just indicators of a much broader problem. All around the world, we're seeing the development of legislation intended to fight online piracy, and regulate the internet in other ways, that hurt online freedoms.

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