18 Jan, 2012

In the latest protest move against proposed copyright laws – the US Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (Pipa) – Wikipedia has gone offline.


The English language version of the site has been taken offline and has been replaced with a blank screen accompanied by the statement ‘Imagine a world without free knowledge’.


The ‘blackout’ is also being adopted by fellow sites, Reddit and Boing Boing to express anger against the laws which are being being debated by Congress, and if passed, would allow court orders to force search engines to block results that are thought to be linked to piracy.


Wikipedia’s founder, Jimmy Wales, told the BBC: “Proponents of Sopa have characterised the opposition as being people who want to enable piracy or defend piracy”.


“But that’s not really the point. The point is the bill is so over broad and so badly written that it’s going to impact all kinds of things that, you know, don’t have anything to do with stopping piracy.”


The message replacing the normal Wikipedia front page on the internet says: “For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopaedia in human history. Right now, the US Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia.”

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