Wikipedia is officially protesting against the PIPA and SOPA. A detailed description on Wikipedia protest blackout against US law SOPA is given below.
Update: Google (US version) and Mozilla also kicking off the blackout.
The internet has become an inimitable part of our lives. Internet’s immense capabilities have made it possible to find any kind of information in a matter of seconds. You might just not be aware, but a law is being discussed in the US which might hinder all these freedoms. The US government is discussing a few bills which might be a threat to the productivity and the usefulness of the internet.
First bill SOPA (“Stop Online Piracy Act”) is being discussed in the United States House of Representatives. The second bill PIPA (“Protect Intellectual property Act”) is being discussed in the United States Senate. The government might have brought in these bills for taking measures to curb copyright infringement committed by foreign websites, but some people rightly believe that if these bills get passed, they might be very harmful for the propagation of the freedom of expression on the internet. Wikipedia is one of those organizations that stands against these bills.
Imagine a World without Free Knowledge: For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia”
This is the message you’ll be greeted with if you open the English version of Wikipedia. Wikipedia, in protest against the bills, has decided to blackout the English version of the website for a day starting midnight January 18th, Eastern Time. You can learn more about these Bills on the given links on Wikipedia which are accessible even during the blackout. You can also check the progress of government proceedings of these bills on the following links (SOPA / PIPA ).
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit organization has jotted down some points that might affect our daily internet lives in a wrong way. They have summarized a list of the main provisions of these bills for which it must not be passed. You can check this list here.
Wikipedia states that SOPA and PIPA contain terms that forces all sites to look into all their user generated content to make sure that none of that infringes any copyright. This might be possible for big internet giants but small website firms won’t even be able to sustain such burden. These bills also require websites like Wikipedia to check every external site they link onto, for copyrighted content. This means that all the content of Wikipedia, that is generated by a whole lot of volunteers, would have to be monitored by Wikipedia; otherwise Wikipedia would be forced offline.
Wikipedia, being Wikipedia, has also told ways to users to access Wikipedia during the blackout. It states:
Apart from Wikipedia, big internet giants like Google, Mozilla, Facebook, and Reddit have also decided to protest against the PIPA and SOPA acts. A total of more than 7,000 websites has decided to blackout from midnight EST on Tuesday until the same time on Wednesday.