Wikipedia will go dark to protest SOPA/PIPA

Jimmy Wales has announced that Wikipedia will join Reddit, Boing Boing, and many other sites around the Internet in going dark on Wednesday to protest SOPA/PIPA, the pending US legislation that would make it impossible to run any website that links or allows commenters to link, by making us liable for copyright infringement on the sites we link to.

Wales used his Twitter account to spread the news, writing “Student warning! Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday! #sopa”

In place of Wikipedia, users will see instructions for how to reach local members of Congress, which Wales hopes "will melt phone systems in Washington."

He also noted that comScore estimates the English Wikipedia’s web traffic at 25 million daily visitors worldwide.

Wikipedia to Shut Down in Protest of SOPA (Thanks, Marilyn!)


  1. Question: will Boing Boing and Wikipedia only block requests originating from US IP addresses? People outside the US have no leverage when it comes to US legislation and cannot “call their congressman” to do anything about SOPA. The point of this stunt may, in fact, be entirely lost on them.

    1. I would think it would be highly helpful for people outside the US to call as many members of congress as possible and voice their concerns. It might help with their myopic world view if they realize people all over the world think they are being a bunch of dumb-asses. Also call your own elected representatives a complain to them as well.

      1. Its very important that the blackout is indescriminate. When visitors from other countries can’t access Wikipedia and read why, maybe they’ll think about the repercussions of similar legistlation when it gets (inevitably) peddled by their own government.

        Gah, replied to wrong comment, sorry.

    2. This was a serious question. The Reuters story alternates between “English Wikipedia” (not that this means US-only) and “Wikipedia.” The text of the last JavaScript pop-up on Boing Boing addressed US visitors only (something like “because of the actions of _your_ government,” which was of course incorrect for a huge share of visitors).

      It’s just not clear to me and I would welcome any clarification.

      1. Okay, regarding Wikipedia, there seems to be a consensus for blocking only the English-language part, with users still debating whether it should be US-only or international (pretty much a tie right now).

  2. Hurra Jimmy and the wikipedians! 
    Now this is a blackout that will be noticed by people that don’t already know. 

  3. That’s a big get.

    Edit: I think another good target would be Game Informer. This is a high traffic gaming news aggregator.

  4. Good. Not to knock Reddit or anything but a Wikipedia blackout is way more effective. Almost all Congress men know Wikipedia through family members since its the new defecto research site.

  5. so, even though SOPA is starting down the road to defeat, the blackout is still happening, right?  i believe it’s important that it still goes on, i just want to be sure.

  6. Isn’t this kind of preaching to the choir.  I doubt many regular visitors to Boing Boing are unaware of the dangers of SOPA and PIPA.

    1. I am in the visitor “choir” but did not know Wikipedia was going dark on Wednesday.  So thanks, Cory.

  7. Don’t these blackouts violate some sort of inferred or apparent user trust? For instance, what about pro-SOPA beliefs held by thousands or tens of thousands of Wikipedia users? Aren’t they just callously brushed aside by this blackout? I think blackouts or boycotts are only effective if ALL members of the boycotting entity are behind the plan. After all, the Internet is a group effort, as BoingBoing and Wikipedia (and other sites) are group efforts

    1. The point that BoingBoing and Wikipedia are making is that if SOPA or a similar law passes, then those sites would necessarily cease to exist entirely. So whether some users are pro-sopa is not really relevant- if that segment of users gets its way, then they won’t have site access anyway. That’s part of what this blackout is trying to teach them.

      1. “So whether some users are pro-sopa is not really relevant”

        What if this were a boycott against Brad Pitt or skimmed milk? And what if I liked Brad Pitt or skimmed milk? I’m just saying that the whole “the Internet is just one big happy family” construct goes out the window when websites start speaking (or boycotting) on behalf of their daily visitors. The ways of protest these days are mighty strange in my opinion. I guess it’s all about “sending messages” and “making points” – several websites blacking out for 24 hours is going to send a message to our government? I’ll see it when I believe it.

        1. You’re missing the point: you either lose Brad Pitt and skim milk for a day (law hopefully gets defeated) or you have it for that day but soon after, lose both forever (law gets passed). You’re strictly better off in the latter case whether you like Brad Pitt and skim milk or not.

        2. The websites are protesting.  Nowhere in this do they imply that everyone agrees with them, or that they are “representing” the views of all those who use their website.  It is their right to do as they choose with their own site… until this law is passed anyway.  As for user obligations, there are none.  You use a site or not, but they don’t OWE you anything any more than your local KFC “owes” you anything for buying their chicken. Their company, not yours.  They can do as they wish with it.

        3. Why would SOPA supporters mind the black-out? If the law is passed, as they wish it to be, Wikipedia would have to shut down for good. So losing it for one day is just a taste of what they are asking for.

        4. You seem to have the cart before the horse just there.  If you think about the people making the decision as the owners of this site, a lot should fall into place.

    2. Yes, we need 100% approval beforehand to take any protest action whatsoever.  Won’t someone please think of the bootlickers!?

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