Wikipedia shuts down in 24-hour protest
Wikipedia has taken its English-language website offline to protest against proposed anti-piracy laws in the United States, presenting anyone who attempts to access the site with a black screen and the statement: “Imagine a world without free knowledge.”
The website is doing this in protest against the US Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) currently being debated by Congress.
Wikipedia joins other sites such as the user-generated news website Reddit and blog Boing Boing in the internet blackout.
Supporters of SOPA and PIPA say that new laws are needed to protect intellectual property and preserve jobs by allowing companies to crack down on sales of pirated US goods overseas, but critics say that these laws would infringe on free speech.
“Proponents of SOPA have characterised the opposition as being people who want to enable piracy or defend piracy,” said Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
“But that’s not really the point. The point is the bill is so over broad and so badly written that it’s going to impact all kinds of things that, you know, don’t have anything to do with stopping piracy.”
The website will be shut down for 24 hours and will be back online at 5am tomorrow morning.