Friday, January 20, 2012


Except for one entry, the English site of open-source online encyclopedia Wikipedia has been blacked out starting 1 p.m. Wednesday (Manila time) to protest the US bill against online piracy.

Visitors to Wikipedia's English page (en.wikipedia.org) could only access the main page and entries or a few seconds, before being redirected to a black-themed page with the message, "Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge"."For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia," Wikipedia said.

Meanwhile, Wikipedia sites in other languages worked normally and did not appear affected.

During the blackout, Wikipedia entries accessed from search engines would display normally only for a few seconds before visitors were redirected to the black Wikipedia page.

Only one page was exempted from the blackout: the page explaining Wikipedia's protest action (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:SOPA_initiative/Learn_more).

The page explained the Wikipedia community is blacking out the English version of Wikipedia for 24 hours to raise awareness about legislation being proposed by the U.S. Congress — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate.

This also aimed to encourage readers to speak out against it, Wikipedia said.

Wikipedia particularly questioned the requirement in the bills for US-based sites to actively police links to purported infringing sites.

Such self-policing activities are non-sustainable for large, global sites - including ones like Wikipedia, it said.

"There is a need to send a strong message that bills like SOPA and PIPA must not move forward: they will cause too much damage," it said. — TJD

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