As expected, the biggest crowdsourced encyclopedia in the world has gone dark for English users.
Wikipedia is probably the most prominent site that has decided to black itself out in order to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act. Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales said that “the encyclopedia will always be neutral. The community need not be, not when the encyclopedia is threatened!” And thus the 24 hour blackout begins.
Here’s what users are greeted with when they visit wikipedia.org:
If you enter your zip code in the prompt, a page will pop up that gives you the contact information of your representatives:
SOPA and PIPA cripple the free and open internet. They put the onus on website owners to police user-contributed material and call for the blocking of entire sites, even if the links are not to infringing material. Small sites will not have the sufficient resources to mount a legal challenge. Without opposition, large media companies may seek to cut off funding sources for small competing foreign sites, even if big media are wrong. Foreign sites will be blacklisted, which means they won’t show up in major search engines.
In a post SOPA/PIPA world, Wikipedia –and many other useful informational sites– cannot survive in a world where politicians regulate the Internet based on the influence of big money in Washington. It represents a framework for future restrictions and suppression. Congress says it’s trying to protect the rights of copyright owners, but the “cure” that SOPA and PIPA represent is much more destructive than the disease they are trying to fix.
The other super prominent site scheduled to participate in the SOPA Blackout is reddit, which will go dark at 8am EST.