Visit Wikipedia today and you’ll see this official message: “Please note: In less than 11 hours, the English Wikipedia will be blacked out globally to protest SOPA and PIPA.”

Wikipedia is not alone — Reddit, Hacktivist group, Anonymous, and many more websites have pledged to go dark on January 18 to protest SOPA and PIPA — the anti-piracy legislations proposed by Congress.

According to an article on Huffington Post, “Wednesday’s so-called SOPA Strike was initially proposed by Reddit, which will go dark for 12 hours to protest H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). These bills are designed to punish primarily foreign-based websites found to violate or facilitate violations of U.S. copyrights. Backlash against the bills has been strong, particularly among the online community.”

 “Google, eBay, Mozilla, Twitter, Facebook, Huffington Post parent company AOL, and other web giants have formally opposed the bills,” the article continues. “The popular Cheezburger Network has joined Reddit in committing to a blackout-protest on January 18, as has news blog Boing Boing and several other prominent sites. Community classified ads site Craigslist has also come out recently against the bills but has not officially stated that it will participate in the blackout.”

I must say, I’ll miss getting my Reddit fix for the day, but that’s the point, right? To show us what could happen if SOPA and PIPA pass, but also to spread a clear message that, as Wikipedia puts it, “The internet must remain free.”

The official English Wikipedia anti-SOPA message states:

“Today, the Wikipedia community announced its decision to black out the English-language Wikipedia for 24 hours, worldwide, beginning at 05:00 UTC on Wednesday, January 18. The blackout is a protest against proposed legislation in the United States — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate — that, if passed, would seriously damage the free and open internet, including Wikipedia.”

Wikipedia continued, “My hope is that when Wikipedia shuts down on January 18, people will understand that we’re doing it for our readers. We support everyone’s right to freedom of thought and freedom of expression. We think everyone should have access to educational material on a wide range of subjects, even if they can’t pay for it. We believe in a free and open internet where information can be shared without impediment. We believe that new proposed laws like SOPA and PIPA, and other similar laws under discussion inside and outside the United States — don’t advance the interests of the general public.”

Google plans to highlight the issue on their website tomorrow (although no official plans to actually participate in the blackout) and Techi is offering tips on how you can black out your own website on January 18 with an easily removable code you can add just for the day.

Tell us your thoughts on the SOPA, PIPA website blackout protests… Will you be joining in?


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