Wikipedia Blackout To Protest SOPA
If you have a term paper due this week or an important bit of research that you need get done, you will want to get all the information you need ahead of the Wikipedia blackout planned for this Wednesday. The people powered encyclopedia, and sixth most frequented website on the internet, will be turning off its English based service tomorrow for a period of 24 hours and will instead have a simple message urging visitors to contact Congress.
Wikipedia will be joined by other notable tech websites – Reddit and Boing Boing to name a few – in the fight against this new wave of anti-piracy bills that the US government is trying to pass in order to curb illegal downloads of copyrighted content. The bills in specific are the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and the PIPA (Protect IP Act) – both requested mainly by movie studios and music studios who believe extra measures and tools are needed to combat online piracy, particularly when the source originates from abroad.
Many in the tech industry including the likes of Google would be negatively impacted by such a law, which could give the power to a few to halt free speech and terminate sites that they believe falls on the wrong side of the law. With the interpretation of what constitutes ‘piracy’ still not agreed upon by all members, this opens up a grey area which can be negatively exploited in the wrong hands and certainly makes the task of ‘policing the internet’ firmly against the principles by which the technology was formed.
The White House has had to take step back amid the vocal protest by individuals and tech companies alike, and it remains to be seen what measures, if any, the government takes in this new age battle of Hollywood vs Silicon Valley.