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Wikipedia is Shutting Down for the Entire Day Tomorrow to Protest Congress’s ‘Stop Online Piracy Act’

throwthedamnthing / Flickr

If you need to get semi-credible information online tomorrow, you’re going to have to dig a little deeper than usual. Because Wikipedia is shutting down for the entire day. It’s going dark to protest Congress’s “Stop Online Piracy Act”, or ‘SOPA.’

If you haven’t been following SOPA, it’s legislation working its way through Congress that’s designed to crack down on people sharing links to pirated music and movies. But there’s a huge problem with it.

The language in the bill is EXTREMELY vague, and could basically turn into a witch hunt where websites get shut down without due process just because someone filed a complaint.

That means, in theory, if someone posts a tweet to pirated content, Twitter could be shut down and would need to take legal action to get back up. If even one pirated link showed up on Google, it could theoretically be shut down too.

Wikipedia is one of several sites going dark tomorrow to protest SOPA, but it’s the most high-profile. Wikipedia gets more than half a billion views every month.

Instead of articles, when you go to Wikipedia starting at midnight Eastern Time tonight, every page will have a message about the blackout and will encourage you to call or write your member of Congress.

Jimmy Wales is the co-founder of Wikipedia. He says, “I hope Wikipedia will melt phone systems in Washington on Wednesday.”

(Financial Times)

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