Censor Ability Free speech preachers seek SOPA-powers
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In SOPA, PIPA protest, Wikipedia to black out
Might want to get your Encyclopedia Britannica set out of storage: Wikipedia will go dark Wednesday, joining a growing number of popular websites staging an online revolt against two anti-piracy bills.
Founder Jimmy Wales made the announcement in tweets on Monday, telling followers his goal is to "melt phone systems in Washington" in opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and the PROTECT IP Act in the Senate.Continue Reading
The online protest puts Wikipedia in the company of other websites such as Reddit and popular games such as Minecraft in leveraging its substantial size and clout to campaign against the bills. Wales suggested on Twitter the impact of the blackout could be significant, given that "comScore estimates the English Wikipedia receives 25 million average daily visitors globally."
The site began weeks ago soliciting input from users on whether to implement a full or partial blackout of Wikipedia. Wales said Monday that the protest will involve only the English site.
"Final details under consideration but consensus seems to be for 'full' rather than 'soft' blackout!," he tweeted.
More details are due later this evening, according to Wikipedia.
The debates over SOPA and PIPA are drawing even some of the most politically averse Internet companies into the Washington fray. They argue the bills would threaten the architecture of the Internet by giving copyright holders and federal law enforcement too much power to shut off access to foreign websites peddling movies, music and other illegal content.
Responding to overwhelming criticism, the leading authors of SOPA and PIPA — House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Senate Judiciary head Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) — abandoned provisions that would allow the feds to seek a court order to block domain names of such sites.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has scheduled a critical Jan. 24 cloture vote on PIPA. And during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday, Reid showed no sign of backing down, though he did call for opposing sides to compromise.
Internet companies say the removal of the domain name-blocking provisions isn't enough. Buoyed by a statement from the White House Saturday that criticized parts of the House and Senate bills without explicitly opposing the measures, Wikipedia vowed to join the online assault against SOPA and PIPA this week.
"Student warning! Do your homework early," Wales tweeted. "Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday!"
This article first appeared on POLITICO Pro at 3:51 p.m. on January 16, 2012.
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