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Wikipedia Might Shut Down Website To Protest Against SOPA

Posted by: , 17:34 AEDT, Wed December 14, 2011
Tags: Copyright

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Wikipedia founder suggests blanking pages for a short time to protest against the controversial Stop Piracy Online Act, in the hope of spurring a "public uprising" on the issue

You may have seen his face frequently these last few weeks asking for donations, but the founder and head of Wikipedia is now asking users whether Wikipedia should blank all of its pages for a short time, a day or even less, to protest against the controversial Stop Piracy Online Act (SOPA) currently being debated in Congress.

SOPA has been seen as an attempt to censor the Internet, and tech and Internet giants, including the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter, have alreadyexpressed their opposition to the bi-partisan bill. And Wikipedia might just join in the protest.

Founder Jimmy Wales cites an example only a few month ago, where the Italian version of Wikipedia staged a day of protest by blanking all pages, to protest against a censorship law. Wales have asked the community's opinion regarding staging a similar action, to protest what he calls "a much worse" legislation than the one that prompted the Italian protest.

So far, the community response has been overwhelmingly supportive of a strike action.

But Wales warned that taking such an action would be "a very very big deal", and any action would have been to carefully considered. "If this poll is firmly 'opposed' then I'll know that now. But even if this poll is firmly in 'support' we'd obviously go through a much longer process to get some kind of consensus around parameters, triggers, and timing," added Wales.

Wales also later adds that he feels this type of action could be what's needed to initiate a "public uprising" on the issue, and to tell politicians that "Back room politics over cigars and promises" is not an acceptable alternative to a "vigorous public debate".


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