Wikipedia and other websites are going dark Wednesday January 18th to protest the legislation known as SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA, H.R. 3261) and its Senate counterpart, PIPA, PROTECT IP Act (PIPA, S. 968).
SOPA is said to be drafted in a draconian manner that protects content providers while taking away reasonable “safe harbor” protections for internet site operators, with significant implications for universities and sites like Wikipedia and Facebook. The bill reportedly would shift liability for copyright piracy from the infringer to the host website and makes no provision for Fair Use.
In explaining the reason for the blackout, Sue Gardner, Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director, indicated that if passed, the legislation “would seriously damage the free and open Internet…. We believe that new proposed laws like SOPA and PIPA, and other similar laws under discussion inside and outside the United States — don’t advance the interests of the general public.”