Quick poll: did you ever use Wikipedia to blast out a term paper? I don’t need telekinesis to know the answer. It’s hard to imagine life without such a digital era essential like Wikipedia.
Well, for 24 hours starting tomorrow, January 18, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales will be turning out the lights. You heard me right – Wikipedia will be offline to the public starting tomorrow morning.
Wales’ advice? Do your homework early.
Student warning!Do your homework early.Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday! #sopa
— Jimmy Wales (@jimmy_wales) January 16, 2012
And they’re not the only ones.
Wikipedia will be joined by online forum Reddit, popular blog site BoingBoing, meme-sharing sites at the Cheezburger network and document-sharing site Scribd (who’ve been self-censoring themselves since mid-December) in the blackout.
It’s even been rumored that Google, Facebook and Twitter are considering joining others in self-censoring their own Web sites and services tomorrow. Today, Google confirmed they are joining Wikipedia and Reddit in the Internet blackout with a logo change, while Twitter CEO Dick Costolo disagrees with their decision.
What’s the reason? Well in the eternal words of Biggie, “if you don’t know, now you know.” Because the Senate is still currently considering the Protect IP Act (PIPA), despite it’s sister bill from the House of Representatives getting killed earlier this week.
We’ve already written two great articles about SOPA and PIPA: one that explains these bills and another that explains their ramifications on the Internet. These bills were created to stop the online piracy of intellectual property (such as movies and music) by punishing those who help distribute and enable users to download pirated content on the internet.
However, the reality is SOPA and PIPA will devastate innovation and collaboration online by effectively allowing the entertainment industry and the US government to censor and blacklist parts of the Internet to people like us in the US. PIPA could threaten to shut down your favorite Web sites, prevent new Internet companies from being created and stop bloggers and communities like TNGG from being able to write freely in fear of being censored.
The fact is, the situation is very real – this bill could pass.
That’s why I have an important announcement on behalf of the team here at The Next Great Generation: Tomorrow, we’ll be joining Wikipedia, Reddit and others in censoring our Web site for 24 hours. We believe SOPA and PIPA are a threat to the online innovation that made this community possible and that’s why we’re taking a stand against what we believe are just plain bad pieces of legislation.
Here are several ways that readers can choose to get involved in the fight against SOPA:
What are you opinions about SOPA? Will the Internet blackout affect you? Please leave them in the comments below.