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SOPA and PIPA - Learn more

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:SOPA_initiative" title="Wikipedia:SOPA initiative">Wikipedia:SOPA initiative

About the action

  • The Wikipedia community has blacked out the English version of Wikipedia for 24 hours on January 18th to raise awareness about legislation being proposed by the U.S. Congress — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate -- and to encourage readers to speak out against it. This legislation, if passed, will harm the free and open Internet. If you are in the United States, let your congressional representative know what you think of the proposed legislation by clicking here.
  • The blackout will last 24 hours -- from midnight to midnight EST (05:00 UTC Wed to 05:00 UTC Thu).
  • This decision was made by Wikipedia’s global community of editors -- the people who built Wikipedia. The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization that operates Wikipedia, also opposes SOPA and PIPA, and supports the editors' blackout.
  • SOPA and PIPA are real threats to the free and open Internet. Although recent media reports have suggested that the bills are losing support, they are not dead. On January 17th, SOPA's sponsor said the bill will be discussed and pushed forward in early February. PIPA could be debated in the U.S. Senate as soon as next week. There is a need to send a strong message that bills like SOPA and PIPA must not move forward: they will cause too much damage.
  • Although the bills have been amended since their introduction, they are still deeply problematic. Among other serious problems in the current draft of the bills, the requirement exists for US-based sites to actively police links to purported infringing sites. These kinds of self-policing activities are non-sustainable for large, global sites - including ones like Wikipedia. The legislative language is ambiguous and overly broad, even though it touches on protected speech. Congress says it's trying to protect the rights of copyright owners, but the "cure" that SOPA and PIPA represent is worse than the disease.

 Make your voice heard!

More information

Questions and Answers

What exactly is Wikipedia doing?
On January 18, 2012, the English Wikipedia community is protesting SOPA and PIPA with a global blackout of the English Wikipedia. Readers who come to English Wikipedia from the United States will see a message from Wikipedia about SOPA and PIPA that encourages them to contact their representatives or senators, and readers everywhere will be encouraged to share their views via social media. This protest will last 24 hours - from midnight to midnight EST.
Why is this happening?
The English Wikipedia community is opposed to SOPA/PIPA. In an unprecedented decision, the Wikipedia community has chosen to blackout the English version of Wikipedia for 24 hours, in protest against proposed legislation in the United States — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate. If passed, this legislation will harm the free and open Internet and inhibit people's access to information online.
Why? SOPA and PIPA put the burden on website owners to police user-contributed material and call for the unnecessary blocking of entire sites. Small sites won't have sufficient resources to defend themselves. Big media companies may seek to cut off funding sources for their foreign competitors, even if copyright isn't being infringed. Foreign sites will be blacklisted, which means they won't show up in major search engines. SOPA and PIPA build a framework for future restrictions and suppression.
For over a decade, Wikipedians have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. This proposed legislation could seriously damage Wikipedia, and your ability to access information online.
Isn't SOPA dead? Wasn't the bill shelved, and didn't the White House declare that it won't sign anything that resembles the current bill?
No, SOPA and PIPA are not dead. On January 17th, SOPA's sponsor said the bill will be discussed in early February. There are signs PIPA may be debated on the Senate floor next week. The threat of SOPA and PIPA remains, and the English Wikipedia community wants to send a strong message that such attacks on the free and open web are not welcome.
Aren’t SOPA/PIPA as they stand not even really a threat to Wikipedia? Won't the DNS provisions be removed?
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a great post about this here. SOPA and PIPA are still alive, and they’re still a threat to the free and open web, which means they are a threat to Wikipedia. For example, in its current form, SOPA would require U.S. sites to take on the heavy burden of actively policing third-party links for infringing content. And even with the DNS provisions removed, the bill would give the U.S. government extraordinary and loosely-defined powers to take control over content and information on the free web. Taking one bad provision out doesn't make the bills okay, and regardless, Internet experts agree they won't even be effective in their main goal: halting copyright infringement.
What can users outside of the U.S. do to support this effort?
Users outside of the U.S. can contact their local State Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or similar branch of government. Tell them that you oppose the draft US SOPA and PIPA legislation, and all similar legislation. SOPA and PIPA will have a global effect - websites outside of the U.S. would be impacted by legislation that hurts the free and open web. And, other jurisdictions are grappling with similar issues, and may choose paths similar to SOPA and PIPA.
Is it still possible to access Wikipedia in any way?
The Wikipedia community, as part of their request to the Wikimedia Foundation to carry out this protest, asked us to ensure that we make English Wikipedia accessible in some way during an emergency. The English Wikipedia will be accessible on mobile devices and smart phones. Because the protest message is powered by JavaScript, it's also possible to view Wikipedia by completely disabling JavaScript in your browser.
In carrying out this protest, is Wikipedia abandoning neutrality? Can I still trust Wikipedia?
We hope you continue to trust Wikipedia. We are staging this blackout because, although Wikipedia’s articles are neutral, its existence actually is not. Wikipedia depends on its existence for a free and open, uncensored Internet. We are shutting down for you, our readers. We support your 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 people should be able to share information 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. That's why we're doing this.

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Comment by Tara on January 18, 2012 at 4:43pm

Well, if that is the case Ziggy, don't they have a right to their freedom of speech, regardless of how we may deem the site to be lacking freedom of speech in the first place? Whomever runs a site should have the freedom to proofread, edit and censor as much as their little heart desires. If you don't like the site for those reasons, there are a million and one other sites to choose from on the web. That is the beauty of the internet.

Comment by ziggy784 on January 18, 2012 at 3:28pm

Wikipedia is a Zionist-controlled (and Jewish founded) organ, they have a whole team of Sayanim (everyday Jewish helpers) who proofread, edit, and censor articles considered "AntiSemitic.

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