The co-founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales is giving students fair warning: they should do their homework before Wednesday when the site will go dark, along with other sites, in protest of anti-piracy legislation under consideration in Congress.
The English versions of Wikipedia will shut down for 24 hours to make a point against the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act pending in Congress, an action Wikipedia polled its readers over last month.
The legislation is designed to crack down on sales of pirated U.S. products overseas. Critics say it could hurt the technology industry and infringes on free-speech rights.
Wikipedia is not the first website to announce plans to shut down but is the most well-known, with an estimated 25 million visitors a day. Reddit, Boing Boing, Anonymous and other online sites also have plans to go dark. According to SlashGear, Reddit, a “crowd-curated site”, will blackout for eight hours showing a message that reveals who the site would be affected should the legislation pass.
Even the White House has expressed concerns over SOPA recently. According to The Blaze, it understands the importance of fighting against piracy and counterfeiting on the Internet but also thinks it could undermine “the dynamic, innovative global Internet.”
White House officials wrote in a blog post that it would not support pending legislation.
“Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small,” the White House said.
Watch MSNBC’s “Up with Chris Hayes” (via the New York Times blog) that hosted a debate yesterday between NBC Universal’s chief lawyer Richard Cotton and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.