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Wikipedia to go offline for 24 hrs to protest law

world Updated: Jan 19, 2012 08:46 IST

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Wikipedia, the popular community-edited online encyclopedia, will black out its English-language site for 24 hours to seek support against proposed US anti-piracy legislation that Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said threatens the future of the Internet.

The US service will be the highest profile name to join a growing campaign starting at midnight Eastern Time on Wednesday that will see it black out its page so that visitors will only see information about the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (Pipa).

The information will urge Wikipedia readers to contact their local congressman to vote against the bills. Other smaller sites leading the campaign include and Cheezeburger.

"This is a quite clumsily drafted legislation which is dangerous for an open Internet," said Wales in an interview.

The decision to black out the site was decided by voting within the Wikipedia community of writers and editors who manage the free service, Wales said.

The English language Wikipedia receives more than 25 million average daily visitors from around the world, according to comScore data.

The Sopa legislation, under consideration in the House of Representatives, aims to crack down on online sales of pirated American movies, music or other goods. This is done by forcing Internet companies to block access to foreign sites offering material that violates US copyright laws. Supporters argue the bill is unlikely to have an impact on US-based websites.

White House officials raised concerns on Saturday about Sopa saying they believe it could make businesses on the Internet vulnerable to litigation and harm legal activity and free speech.

Twitter boss slams ‘silly’ wiki protest

In a tweet, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo called Wikipedia’s plans to pull the plug on its website “foolish” and “silly”.

Via Twitter, Radar correspondent Alex Howard asked Costolo, Google’s Eric Schmidt and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, whether they would have the ‘cojones’ to follow in Wikipedia’s protesting footsteps.

“That’s just silly. Closing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish,” Costolo replied

Reuters & GNS