Wikipedia Confirms Blackout In Protest Of SOPA

Posted by · January 16, 2012 4:26 pm
Image representing Wikipedia as depicted in Cr...

It’s official. Wikipedia will be joining Reddit in an online protest of the controversial anti-piracy bills currently moving their way through the legislative branch. After initially announcing that he’d like to join the popular social media site to protest both the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales was able to rally the necessary support for a blackout of the world’s largest encyclopedia this Wednesday.

In an announcement Monday, Wales confirmed that the site would go dark as of midnight Tuesday night and remain offline for the entire day.

Those who visit Wikipedia on Wednesday will encounter similar message to that set to be displayed on Reddit. The homepage will display a message about the threats that SOPA and PIPA pose to Internet freedom and a call for users to contact their respective members of Congress and the Senate to express their opposition to both bills.

Though it has not been confirmed, rumors continue to stir over whether big name sites like Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and even Google will join the Wednesday protest and give clarity to the ambiguous stance that these companies have taken thus far.

As for the significance of scheduling the blackouts for Wednesday, that day was also supposed to be the day that tech experts would have a chance to address Congress in a hearing. However, that hearing was cancelled after SOPA author Rep. Lamar Smith agreed to withdraw a particularly controversial provision of the bill.

The specific portion of SOPA that’s going to be edited or removed is yet to be known, leaving the public in limbo until Congress reconvenes from their holiday recess later this month.

Meanwhile, both President Barack Obama and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor have expressed their desire to see greater consensus on any such legislation before it comes up for a full vote.

Responding to calls for the President to veto SOPA and any SOPA-like legislation, the White House issued the following 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 cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet. Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small. We must avoid creating new cybersecurity risks or disrupting the underlying architecture of the Internet.

In a rare display of bipartisanship, the House Majority Leader took a similar stance, announcing that SOPA would not come to the floor for a vote without first having a legitimate consensus.

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