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Wikipedia Blackout: Jimmy Wales Announces Protest Of SOPA, PIPA On January 18

Wikipedia has apparently joined the ranks of several high-profile websites that are planning a “blackout” on Wednesday, January 18, in protest of Congress’ proposed anti-piracy legislation. During the blackout period, many web pages will become unavailable and will likely be replaced with information about the protest.

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales took to Twitter on Monday to announce that the English-language version of Wikipedia will go dark on Wednesday for 24 hours — from midnight EST on January 18 until midnight EST January 19. He noted in a later tweet that “Final details [are] under consideration but consensus seems to be for ‘full’ rather than ‘soft’ blackout!”

Wednesday’s so-called SOPA Strike was initially proposed by Reddit, which will go dark for 12 hours to protest H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). These bills are designed to punish primarily foreign-based websites found to violate or facilitate violations of U.S. copyrights. Backlash against the bills has been strong, particularly among the online community. Google, eBay, Mozilla, Twitter, Facebook, Huffington Post parent company Aol and other web giants have formally opposed the bills. The popular Cheezburger Network has joined Reddit in committing to a blackout-protest on January 18, as has news blog Boing Boing and several other prominent sites. Community classified ads site Craigslist has also come out recently against the bills but has not officially stated that it will participate in the blackout.

Today, President Obama’s administration has issued a public response to petitions protesting the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

“While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response,” said the note, “we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.”

The Black Out is still scheduled as SOPA/PIPA is not over with just yet.

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