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Many websites have shown their disdain over Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect-IP Act being filed in the U.S. Congress. Some sites have slapped its logos with “Stop Censorship,” while others covered whole texts with censor bars, but Wikipedia is taking it one step further.

The online encyclopedia is being geared for a total shutdown of its English-language version. Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, has announced on Twitter that the site will go dark for 24 hours beginning January 18, Wednesday, in protest of the two bills seen by some advocates as tools to stifle Internet freedom. Instead, the Wikipedia landing page will be replaced with a letter of protest and a call to action, urging readers to contact their local congressman and get involved with the issue. A prototype of the landing page can be seen in this photo.

Although the two bills are written with an intention to curb IP theft and online piracy, both bills have raised eyebrows because of its questionable approach in handling suspected offenders. For instance, websites accused of offering pirated content, as well as the services they use, could become inaccessible to United States Internet users by being delisted on search engines or even on DNS servers themselves.

The decision for a blackout comes after a long discussion among casual users and hard-core contributors on the specifics of this grand gesture, including whether or not the site should participate at all, which versions of the site will be covered, and how the blackout would be conducted. The community has agreed on a full blackout, although it only covers Wikipedia English version. Other language versions, such as the German version, will be displaying a banner of support.

In closing, Wales advised students though Twitter about the upcoming blackout. “Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday!”

Source: TechCrunch

 
 

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