We recently told you about Rupert Murdoch’s criticism of the Obama administration via Twitter over the watering down of the online privacy legislation. Despite this Wikipedia is still closing its doors for a day in protest at SOPA.
The co-founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales took to his Twitter account to reveal the site blackout will still go ahead. According to a report on The Telegraph Wales told his followers that he wanted “to melt switchboards!” He added that presently that there is no hint that the Stop Online Piracy Act is completely dead, so urged followers “to send Washington a BIG message”.
He also feels that the Protect Intellectual Property Act that is also under consideration by the Senate was a risk to websites. Wales believes that around 100 million English speaking users of Wikipedia will be affected by the blackout, and urged students to do their “homework early”.
The English version of the site will be closed down between 5 AM GMT tomorrow until 5 AM GMT the following day. Visitors to the site during that time will be greeted by an open letter urging them to contact Congress in protest.
Wikipedia is currently the sixth most used website in the world, and other sites such as Reddit are also joining in with the protest with a blackout. It will be the first blackout of its kind for an English version of the site, while the Italian version did do something similar back in October as a protest against libel laws.
People opposed to SOPA and PIPA say the rulings would impose unfair burden on websites like Wikipedia, who will have to check that no content on the site will infringe copyright. Currently if a site is notified by a copyright holder and then remove the material they are not liable.
The proposed new laws would make it easier for copyright holders from the US to shut off access to foreign websites, which may contain illegal copies of movies, music, and TV shows. Only last Friday the White House said that key parts of the bills would not be approved.
Do you agree with the Wikipedia blackout?
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