Wikipedia to join Reddit blackout to protest SOPA, PIPA

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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Wikipedia announced Monday its intention to participate in a voluntary one day blackout of its services in protest of “anti-piracy” legislation that opponents claim would “break the Internet.”

The enormously popular online encyclopedia will join Reddit, a widely-used social media platform, in blocking its content on Jan. 18 in protest of the pending bills, which ostensibly target online copyright infringement.

“Student warning! Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday! #sopa,” tweeted Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales.

The announcement comes as the Senate gears up to vote on its own version of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act next week. The Protect IP Act — the Senate version of SOPA — would grant the Attorney General the authority to go after so-called “rogue sites” suspected of profiting from the facilitation of copyright infringement.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told Meet the Press host David Gregory Sunday that he will be branding PIPA as a “job creator.” He is expected to bring the measure to a vote on Jan. 24.

PIPA currently has 40 co-sponsors and 61 organizations and companies in favor of it.  But 17 major tech companies, including Google and Facebook, oppose the bill.

SOPA, sponsored by Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, was stalled on Monday by congressional leadership after months of opposition from major players in the Internet community.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has assured California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa that SOPA would not move forward unless a “consensus” could be reached.  Issa is the author of a similar anti-piracy bill in the House that would grant authority to the International Trade Commission instead of the Justice Department.

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