At midnight last night, a long list of influential websites like Wikipedia, BoingBoing, The912-Project, and even some of the Occupy Wall Street sites have “gone dark” in a brief protest of House Bill 3261 or the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

If you do visit Wikipedia’s homepage today, this is what you will see.

Wikipedia Blackout Work Around, Cheat Method

Wikipedia is hoping that the denial of access to the free online encyclopedia will inspire millions to reach out to their representatives and voice displeasure over the proposed legislation.

The block is irritating, but it is possible to get past it and still use the site.

If you absolutely MUST search Wikipedia today, here is how you do it.

As the site starts loading, hit the ESC key – the good old home page will appear.

When you type your search data into the form and hit the enter key, you must also hit the ESC key again.

We tested it this morning, searching for “GBTV.” Here’s what we saw.

Wikipedia Blackout Work Around, Cheat Method

 

As you can see, the blockade can be broken, it just requires a little manual dexterity.

If you are not familiar with the details of SOPA, CBS News has a handy summary of the bill, why it matters to Hollywood and the media producers, and the reasons that many in the online world oppose it.

According to CBS News, this is where the legislation stands;

The Senate is scheduled to hold a procedural vote on PIPA on January 24.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, who sponsored SOPA, said Tuesday he expects the committee to continue work on the House bill in February.

All of the blocks should be lifted tomorrow.

(H/T: Ashleigh Banfield at CNN’s “Early Start”)