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Wikipedia taking site offline in PIPA and SOPA protest

17 January 2012

Wikipedia will take its English language site offline on Wednesday, January 18 as part of a protest against proposed US anti-piracy legislation.

The user-generated online encyclopaedia will join other websites, including news aggregation website Reddit.com.

Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, told the BBC: "Proponents of SOPA have characterized the opposition as being people who want to enable piracy or defend piracy.

"But that's not really the point. The point is the bill is so over-broad and so badly written that it's going to impact all kinds of things that don't have anything to do with stopping piracy."

PIPA and SOPA have been criticized by supporters of a free internet, Silicon Valley giants such as Google and Facebook and start-up entrepreneurs, because they aim to make internet companies accountable for hosting and linking to websites offering illicit downloads of movies, TV shows and music.

Although this is US legislation, PIPA and SOPA could have a profound effect on global businesses and internet sites.

Earlier this month, Tim Berners-Lee, father of the worldwide web, came out in support of a group putting pressure on the US government over PIPA by re-tweeting a post by demandprogress.org/ calling for opposition to the proposed bill.

In an open letter posted in December 2011, Vint Cerf, one of the forefathers of the internet, along with several internet leaders, said PIPA and SOPA would have a chilling effect on innovation, deny website owners the right to due process of law, allow censorship and undermine security.

This story was first published by Computer Weekly

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