Wikipedia shuts down for 24 hours today in cyber protest

A Wikipedia 'Blackout' takes place today as website voluntarily shuts down in piracy protest

The world’s sixth most visited website, Wikipedia, shut down this morning in protest against potential United States legislation to keep the cap on pirate sites.

The protest targets SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (the Protect Intellectual Property Act), which call for websites like Wikipedia to restrain publishing material that infringes copyright.

Both Acts have been met with large criticism, while cofounder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales dubbed PIPA as ‘extremely dangerous.’

Instead of the stored articles, today Wikipedia greets its visitors with an encouragement to contact American Congress in protest.

Although SOPA has been halted by opposition from the White House, Wikipedia decided to proceed with the blackout anyway and ‘send Washington a big message’, as Wales said.

‘My goal is to melt switchboards!,’ he tweeted to his 46,000 Twitter followers.

Wales also warned studentsto ‘do your homework early’, as an estimated 100 million English-speaking Wikipedia users will be affected by the blackout.

If effective, SOPA and PIPA would also give American copyright holders permission to cut off access to foreign websites hosting unlicensed copies of films, music and television programmes.

Backed by major media barons such as Rupert Murdoch, solidarity towards opponents was displayed by Silicon Valley giants Google and Facebook.

Darrel Issa, a California Republican who fought against proposals of the Acts, ensured that House Speaker John Boehner promised that legislation would not go before a vote until there was ‘consensus’.

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