Tech|January 16, 2012| Author: Kim LaCapria|Tags: ,

Wikipedia Issues Press Release on Anti-PIPA/SOPA Blackout

reddit sopa blackout wikipedia

Earlier today, Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales told Twitter that Wikipedia would be backing up Reddit in a big way, going dark on Wednesday to drive home to users the significance of internet-killing anti-piracy bills.

The news came as the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, was shelved indefinitely in the House- but a similar bill, the Protect Intellectual Property Act, or PIPA, still looms large in the Senate. And even if the bills were set aside, the threat continually posed to the internet is grave, which is why sites like Wikipedia and Reddit are taking such a hard-line stance on the matter.

Wales tweeted midday that students should plan ahead to accommodate the 24-hour long blackout, and news traveled swiftly about the impending planned outage. Hours later, the organization put out a press release with more detail about the protest. You can read the full text below- do you think bringing Wikipedia and Reddit offline will wake users up to the dangers of SOPA and PIPA?

San Francisco — January 16, 2012 — On January 18, 2012, in an unprecedented decision, the Wikipedia community has chosen to blackout the English version of Wikipedia for 24 hours, in protest against proposed legislation in the United States — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and PROTECTIP (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate. If passed, this legislation will harm the free and open Internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States.

Wikipedia administrators confirmed this decision Monday afternoon (PST) in a public statement (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:SOPA_initiative/Action#Summary_and_conclusion):

Over the course of the past 72 hours, over 1800 Wikipedians have joined together to discuss proposed actions that the community might wish to take against SOPA and PIPA. This is by far the largest level of participation in a community discussion ever seen on Wikipedia, which illustrates the level of concern that Wikipedians feel about this proposed legislation. The overwhelming majority of participants support community action to encourage greater public action in response to these two bills. Of the proposals considered by Wikipedians, those that would result in a “blackout” of the English Wikipedia, in concert with similar blackouts on other websites opposed to SOPA and PIPA, received the strongest support.

“Today Wikipedians from around the world have spoken about their opposition to this destructive legislation,” said Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia. “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.”

We urge Wikipedia readers to make your voices heard. If you live in the United States, find your elected representative in Washington (https://www.eff.org/sopacall). If you live outside the United States, contact your State Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs or similar branch of government. Tell them you oppose SOPA and PIPA, and want the internet to remain open and free.