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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72 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

For the record, I don't support SPOA / PIPA and I hope that they're defeated.

Now that's been said, some things about these protests are really annoying me.

Being international, I have no control over these laws at all, yet I am being blocked from accessing content just because of something happening in America.

Take Wikipedia for example (since this article is about them anyway). Wikipedia is worldwide effort, a worldwide information repository, they get their funding from numerous sources around the world (I know people who donate to Wikipedia). With this action essentially what they've done is taken information that belongs to the world and blocked it for everyone just because they have a political agenda.

PHP is another prime example of being a worldwide effort, and they're blocking the world just because of something in America.

Like I said already, I do not support the proposed legislation and I hope that the laws are defeated. There is nothing I can do about it, and even if I "Complain to my state department" (which I don't even bloody well have) as if they care what some Australian's opinion is? It doesn't concern me, I am just trying to access resources and I am not allowed to.

Why don't they focus on passing a law that provest the instigators of SOPA, the people like the RIAA and the MPAA from releasing crappy movies and music? Focus on what's importnat to the masses.

Give me a break. Wikipedia's database is based on knowledge by every day users. How much of that stuff is true on their site?

I never use Wikipedia for any references. No big loss for me.

texasghost said,
Give me a break. Wikipedia's database is based on knowledge by every day users. How much of that stuff is true on their site?

I never use Wikipedia for any references. No big loss for me.


Well, the thing about Wikipedia is they show sources for where said information was found. If you find something on their questionable, check the source it came from (those links at the bottom of the article), determine whether it's credible, and make your judgments from there.

Well hell, might as well friggin' go home if I can't access any of these sites LOL. I am against SOPA 300% but don't really see the overall impact all these blackouts are gong to have, other than to annoy the hell out of people who need to get to the sites. [Too all you sites blacked out] We get it, you are against SOPA, enough already, please find another way to protest!

Why don't we just shut the entire internets down for 24 hours in protest? LOL (and yes I was being sarcastic)

ir0nw0lf said,
Well hell, might as well friggin' go home if I can't access any of these sites LOL. I am against SOPA 300% but don't really see the overall impact all these blackouts are gong to have, other than to annoy the hell out of people who need to get to the sites. [Too all you sites blacked out] We get it, you are against SOPA, enough already, please find another way to protest!

Why don't we just shut the entire internets down for 24 hours in protest? LOL (and yes I was being sarcastic)


the point is to raise awareness because the vast majority of people do not know about it. The blacked out sites are giving info on the bills, and what you can do to stop it. come on, think a little

Nashy said,
Google and Facebook should have done it in America at least IMO.

Agreed. However that being said, I'm sure a lot of their investors had something to do with them not participating (ie you do it and we pull our money from you)

Nashy said,
Google and Facebook should have done it in America at least IMO.

As I said above, it wouldn't make sense for Google or Facebook to go completely dark, shutting down services. If they did, news of their sites being unavailable would just overshadow the protest.

Facebook and Google are so scared to lose some profit. Really sad that they didnt do the same as Wikipedia. We need to start fighting for our future right here. Corporations want to control our world.

Iridium said,
Facebook and Google are so scared to lose some profit. Really sad that they didnt do the same as Wikipedia. We need to start fighting for our future right here. Corporations want to control our world.

It wouldn't make sense for Google or Facebook to go completely dark, shutting down services. If they did, news of their sites being unavailable would just overshadow the protest. I think Google was smart to put their notice on their main page as they did.

for those still wanting to use the en wikipedia just disable javascript as a work around.

I hope they don't go forth with SOPA and PIPA!

It's all very well and everything blocking access in protest against the SOPA proposals, but this
is ultimately an American law if it is passed. I see that some websites that have blacked out in
protest against SOPA have a "Contact your representative" link/button on their homepages.
I don't think contacting the equivalent of my representative (MP for Bury South, Ivan Lewis)
would make any difference, especially as he voted in favour of the UK equivalent of SOPA,
the controversial Digital Economy Bill, that ultimately became the Digital Economy Act.

Zappa859 said,

Omg. So many uninformed people. Lol.
Sad, but in school (as it seems a lot of these posts are about) we had a library, with the information needed to write any paper. Have people forgotten how to use them now? Lol.


Looks that way. Just imagine if someone told them "back in my day I didn't have no wikipedia!" They'd probably drop their jaws like Keanu Reeves in Bill & Ted and exclaim "Whoa!"

Zappa859 said,

Omg. So many uninformed people. Lol.
Sad, but in school (as it seems a lot of these posts are about) we had a library, with the information needed to write any paper. Have people forgotten how to use them now? Lol.

Indeed. When I was in school we did not have Wikipedia so we hit the books in the library. Also, we were not allowed to cite Internet sources for references in papers ... kids have it easy these days.

HAHAHAH, looks like a particular porn site has joined in as well. Can't stop laughing at the idea of all those going to fap, only to find a black screen about SOPA!

dead.cell said,
HAHAHAH, looks like a particular porn site has joined in as well. Can't stop laughing at the idea of all those going to fap, only to find a black screen about SOPA!

One of my favorite *booru style porn sites has joined as well.

I just wrote all 3 of my representatives. I'll be calling them in the morning as well.

If you would like to do this as well, visit Wikipedia for contact information. Please take the time and call/write! Your Internet liberties depend on it! Do it! Do it now!

Voice of Buddy Christ said,
Neowin is a UK site. They have nothing to gain by protesting SOPA and PIPA.

Techically no, it's an American site, if you're going by where the legal entity is registered.

You can access Wikipedia pages, for a few seconds, if you type in the urls directly, before being redirected to the blackout page. So those of you how are desperate can still get your wikifix.

Shiranui said,
You can access Wikipedia pages, for a few seconds, if you type in the urls directly, before being redirected to the blackout page. So those of you how are desperate can still get your wikifix.

I wish people read what I posted in 4th comment.

Just forwarded this on my Facebook page. Say NO to SOPA & PIPA!

Also : Its blocking me here in Australia...

Raa said,
Just forwarded this on my Facebook page. Say NO to SOPA & PIPA!

Also : Its blocking me here in Australia...

Same, and I encourage others to join in.

calimike said,
I support SOPA. Please don't blame me for this

not "trying" to judge you but do you like your rights being taken away in the land of the free or are you from overseas?

smooth3006 said,

not "trying" to judge you but do you like your rights being taken away in the land of the free or are you from overseas?

SOPA hurts people overseas even more than it hurts people in the U.S.

calimike said,
I support SOPA. Please don't blame me for this

I guess it depends on what you mean when you say that you support it? Do you mean that you support its intentions of stopping online piracy, or do you mean that you support it in its current form?

ChopSuey said,
Looks like Wikipedia can still be accessed in Canada. I guess they are only blocking US traffic.

Nope, doesn't work for me (SK)

ChopSuey said,
Looks like Wikipedia can still be accessed in Canada. I guess they are only blocking US traffic.

works for me (uk)

ChopSuey said,
Looks like Wikipedia can still be accessed in Canada. I guess they are only blocking US traffic.

it works everywhere, you just have to press Escape before the black thing comes up

qdave said,
oh wikipedia is down...this is so not good!

Not sure if you know whats going on, but this is for a good cause you know.


Q: Is it still possible to access Wikipedia in any way?

A: The Wikipedia community, as part of their request to the Wikimedia Foundation to carry out this protest, asked us to ensure that we make English Wikipedia accessible in some way during an emergency. The English Wikipedia will be accessible on mobile devices and smart phones. Because the protest message is powered by JavaScript, it's also possible to view Wikipedia by completely disabling JavaScript in your browser.

Clever!

I wonder if it's gonna be covered on any dinosaur media stations. When I wake up, it's gonna be an interesting day. Apparently SOPA got unshelved, but can't find any sources to the rumor. Anyone know?