Wikipedia goes dark for SOPA protest; others join in

If some people thought that the organizers of Wikipedia were bluffing when they said they would shut down the user-created encyclopedia web site today to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act, they were wrong.

Today, the English language version of the popular web site has now gone dark for 24 hours, ending at midnight tonight Eastern time. Anyone who tries to access the site will see the above image and a link to one of the very few working pages on the site where users can see why the group behind Wikipedia launched this protest against both SOPA as well as the Protect IP Act (PIPA).

In their page explaining their reasons for the protest, the site states:

SOPA and PIPA put the burden on website owners to police user-contributed material and call for the unnecessary blocking of entire sites. Small sites won't have sufficient resources to defend themselves. Big media companies may seek to cut off funding sources for their foreign competitors, even if copyright isn't being infringed. Foreign sites will be blacklisted, which means they won't show up in major search engines. SOPA and PIPA build a framework for future restrictions and suppression. For over a decade, Wikipedians have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. This proposed legislation could seriously damage Wikipedia, and your ability to access information online.

The full site is still available to view via smartphones and tablets. If you absolutely have to use Wikipedia on your PC, you can also disable JavaScript on your web browser to remove the SOPA protest message.

Other sites are already shutting down their operating for today only such as the Official Minecraft web site which currently displays the image below:

Google's web site isn't dark but the company has joined the SOPA and PIPA protest in their own way with a new logo and a link on their main page to find out more information about the two bills:

Other web sites such as Reddit.com are expected to shut down part of the day on Wednesday.

Update: Craigslist.org has also joined the Internet blackout to protest SOPA and PIPA.

Images via Wikipedia, Mojang and Google

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