Wikipedia confirms site blackout to protest SOPA anti-piracy bill

Wikipedia confirms site blackout to protest SOPA anti-piracy bill

Summary: The English version of Wikipedia will go offline on Wednesday for 24 hours to protest the SOPA anti-piracy bill.

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Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales confirmed today that the global encyclopedia will "go offline" for 24 hours this coming Wednesday to protest the SOPA anti-piracy bill.

He wrote on Twitter that the 24-hour blackout would begin from midnight from Washington DC-time. It will only affect the English version of Wikipedia.

The site will instead display a message asking users to reach out to their local U.S. Congress representatives, in a hope that the message will "melt [phone] switchboards" with volume.

Wikipedia had been toying with the idea for the past few weeks. Taking Wikipedia offline -- as one of the world's most visited sites -- will not have been taken lightly.

The German version will run a banner, and other languages will "make their own decisions", Wales said. He also said that it was a "community decision", rather than his alone.

With more than 3.8 million articles in the English Wikipedia, it will affect hundreds of millions, if not the billion mark.

This news comes the same day that the SOPA anti-piracy bill, that would allow rights holders to have websites shutdown that allegedly infringe copyright, was shelved by Congress.

While the bill is down rather than out, it was made clear after the weekend that the White House would not support any bill that does“not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet”.

Wikipedia has more than 420 million unique monthly visitors, and over 20 million articles in 300 different languages across the network.

Wikipedia will join Reddit, WordPress, Mozilla and the Cheezburger network in Wednesday's protest against the draft bill.

Image source: Twitter.

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Topics: Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Piracy, Security

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12 comments
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  • RE: Wikipedia confirms site blackout to protest SOPA anti-piracy bill

    "Wikipedia has more than 420 unique monthly visitors"

    Doesn't seem to be a lot of visitors?
    (yeah, I know it's probably just a typo)
    Samic
    • RE: Wikipedia confirms site blackout to protest SOPA anti-piracy bill

      @Samic 420 million -- good spot. Thanks!
      zwhittaker
  • All your content is OURS!

    Wtg Jimmy! Fight censorship by using censorship! Will you go offline if Obama signs SOPA? One can only hope. Good thing you just finished your campaign drive. I suspect contributions will be down next year. You certainly won't be getting ours again.
    ReadTheBill
  • What Students?

    "Academics have also criticized Wikipedia for its perceived failure as a reliable source, and because Wikipedia editors may not have degrees or other credentials generally recognized in academia.[48][49] For that reason, the use of Wikipedia is not accepted in many schools and universities." Source: Wikipedia/Reliability of Wikipedia
    ReadTheBill
    • RE: Wikipedia confirms site blackout to protest SOPA anti-piracy bill

      @ReadTheBill Regardless of it's citability, it's still a useful tool, especially when trying to, you know, find sources. Since you have to cite sources on Wikipedia and all. Not to mention it's great to get an overall clear, concise view of a subject matter.
      Aerowind
  • This demonstrates...

    ...that members of Congress are much more likely to pay attention to public opinion when people are actually paying attention, then when they're not. It's in the latter case that lobbyists and large campaign contributors have most of their influence.

    I'm sure the copyright lobby will try again , but probably not this year.
    John L. Ries
    • RE: Wikipedia confirms site blackout to protest SOPA anti-piracy bill

      @John L. Ries An probably not why Obama is in the White House.
      An I suspect they will choose a less memorable name next time, protect -ip for example rarely comes up in articles, while SOPA is always talked about.
      Knowles2
  • Great move

    While I've supported Wikipedia financially in the past, it's time to open up the wallet and give again - and this time to get serious.

    Now it's Zuckerberg's turn to man up. Facebook needs to go down too.
    symbolset
    • Productivity

      @symbolset,
      If Facebook will do that, the productivity of most employees, including my colleagues' output, will go up.
      Martmarty
  • I Opposed SOPA, but Wednesday I Oppose Wikipedia

    If Wikipedia, Wordpress, and the rest cut off their services on Wednesday, I will NOT be using the time to call Congress about SOPA, but instead will be advocating against those organizations.

    They will be cutting us off NOT because of anything we've done wrong, but in an attempt to bully us into retaliating against a third party.

    They will be violating our trust, proving themselves unreliable and corrupt.
    kazvorpal
    • RE: Wikipedia confirms site blackout to protest SOPA anti-piracy bill

      @kazvorpal@... Get real, they're not forcing you to do anything. Rather, they're informing people. SOPA and Protect-IP are known to us, because we're techies, but none of my college buddies nor my coworkers have even heard of SOPA. Get off your high horse, you're not entitled to anything.
      Aerowind
    • RE: Wikipedia confirms site blackout to protest SOPA anti-piracy bill

      @kazvorpal@... I oppose you! Spoken like a true contradicting noob. You can't oppose SOPA and then oppose websites for joining in on the blackout. You honestly sound like a fool.
      Bates_