Wikipedia has shut down its English-language service for 24 hours protesting against anti-piracy bills that according to critics might amount to censorship.
A bleak statement on Wikipedia website states,
“Imagine a World without Free Knowledge, for over a decade; we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet.
For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia.”
Wikipedia’s objection is in reply to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) bill that is currently on its way through the US Congress for approval.
Earlier, in November 2011, internet giants such as Google and Facebook filed a formal protest letter to lawmakers in US Congress, stating, “We support the bills’ stated goals. Unfortunately, the bills as drafted would expose law-abiding U.S. Internet and
technology companies to new uncertain liabilities (and) mandates that would require monitoring of web sites.”
A Senate Democratic aide has recently said about the internet protest against the online anti-piracy bill is “daunting,” and “Before it looked like it would pass with 80 votes, and now (the online protest) looks like something that will suck the votes away.
We’re at a tipping point. It will either become a huge issue or die down a bit and that will determine the future of this.”
Later, Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, also came out in the media and explained in detail about some major concerns. He said, “This bill is poorly constructed, quite dangerous and won’t actually address the real problem of piracy. Internet policy
shouldn’t be set by Hollywood. The encyclopedia will always be neutral. The community need not be, not when the encyclopedia is threatened. If passed, this legislation will harm the free and open Internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international
websites inside the United States.”
Wikipedia is a free, concerted, multilingual internet encyclopaedia website that is supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation and its 20 million articles (over 3.8 million in English alone) have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the
world while almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the website.