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January 17, 2012

Wikipedia going dark to protest SOPA on Wednesday

Wikpedia will go offline Wednesday to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), according to Co-Founder Jimmy Wales. Wales made the announcement via a series of tweets.
“This is going to be wow,” reads one tweet. “I hope Wikipedia will melt phone systems in Washington on Wednesday. Tell everyone you know!”

Wales has been mulling the idea of a blackout on his user talk page. Wikipedia joins other major websites, such as Reddit, where a very active anti-SOPA community exists. Wales tweeted that the decision was made by community consensus among Wikipedia users:

According to another tweet by Wales, Wikipedia English receives approximately 25 million visitors every day. Wikipedia’s decision means those millions of visitors will be greeted not with the usual digital tome of knowledge, but with a screen explaining the company’s stance on the bill and information on how to take action against SOPA. The blackout will only effect the English language page.
“Student warning! Do your homework early,” joked Wales in another tweet. “Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday!”

Late last week, the authors of both SOPA and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) announced they would be removing the DNS blocking provisions from both bills. The DNS acts as a kind of “phone book” for the Internet, and many in the tech community warned that interfering with DNS would have catastrophic consequences for the stability and security of the Internet.
However, many – including Wales – have responded with a whole-hearted “that’s not good enough.” An anti-SOPA Twitter, tweeted today that “closing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish,” perhaps an indication that Twitter will not be following in the footsteps of Wikipedia and Reddit.
Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corporation, went on a Twitter diatribe lambasting the Obama administration for failing to support SOPA.
Do you think Wikipedia made the right choice? Let us know in the comments below.

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