One of the strongest and loudest protesters of the Stop Online Piracy Act and the PIPA Act has been Wikipedia. In an attempt to further demonstrate their disdain for these online piracy acts Wikipedia is staging a new protest: an online blackout.
The Wikipedia blackout will be in effect on Wednesday the 18th and will last all day. The blackout will be on the English version of Wikipedia however Wikipedia states that the other languages will also put up protest banners and may follow suit in order to further spread the word about SOPA and PIPA.
Wikipedia’s co-founder Jimmy Wales Tweeted the other day that the “emerging consensus of the community seems to be for a global blackout of English Wikipedia”. Wikipedia had apparently considered a softer approach to the blackout but apparently a full blackout was decided on.
For those who don’t know why Wikipedia is protesting SOPA and PIPA you can read more here however a short overview is that SOPA and PIPA take drastic and unnecessary measures in an attempt to stomp out online piracy. Some of these harsh measures include punishing and holding other websites liable for linking to those pirating sites. Innocent site owners will be punished unjustly and the manner in which the United States Government is approaching online piracy is detrimental to free speech.
The SOPA and PIPA acts have both been considered by the government for some time now and Wikipedia has been also considering how best to display their views. This blackout has been considered for several weeks now and Wikipedia wants to use it as a way to send a BIG message to the White House.
So what’s going to happen on Wednesday on the big blackout from Wikipedia? Well, instead of the usual plethora of information that is available on Wikipedia, everything will be directed towards one page – a page with a call to action. This page will explain why Wikipedia feels the way it does about SOPA and PIPA, and it will ask those viewing the page to stand up and either phone or write to the US congress and explain their views as well.
Mr. Wales stated: “I hope Wikipedia will melt phone systems in Washington on Wednesday,” and if all goes as Wikipedia plans, then it will. It is likely that over a hundred million people will see the Wikipedia call to action page during the blackout. If half, or even a quarter of them follow the directions then it will send a huge message to Congress.
Wikipedia is one of the top five most popular websites in the world and it has millions of visitors to its English version every single day. The blackout will begin on midnight EST and will remain there for a full 24hrs. Hopefully Congress gets the message, hopefully Wikipedia succeeds in creating a movement across the States that will inspire people to make their voice heard.
Watch out for the blackout tomorrow and, if you oppose SOPA, don’t sit idly by thinking that others will take up the call for action in your stead – take just a few minutes of your time and be a part of something that will actually make a difference!