Wikipedia will be shutting down for 24 hours this week to protest against internet piracy laws in the United States. This will affect millions of users who use the website daily for information.
Jimmy Wales, the cofounder of Wikipedia said that the blackout is going ahead despite the White House calling a halt to the ‘Stop Online Piracy Act’. The English version of the site will be down from 5am GMT on Wednesday until 5AM GMT on Thursday, this week. Wales posted this information on his Twitter page. The website will only display a single page during this time urging readers to contact Congress to protest.
He said that he hoped this action would melt switchboards, as people lodged their own complaints. He said “We have no indication that SOPA is fully off the table. We need to send Washington a BIG message.”
He also said that PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) was under consideration by the Senate and could cause a threat to websites. He said PIPA was ‘extremely dangerous’.
100 million English speaking Wikipedia users will be affected by the blackout. Other websites are doing the same, such as Reddit, a popular link sharing service.
A White House Spokesman said “Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small..”
If you need to educate yourself on the matter you can read more about the Stop Online Piracy Act on Wikipedia over here.
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