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By 17 January 2012 | Categories: news

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While the United States’ controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has been shelved for the time being, Wikipedia pledged that it would nonetheless go ahead with plans to “go dark” tomorrow in protest against the bill and its counterpart, the Protect IP Act (PIPA)
 
The blackout is a protest against proposed legislation in the US that, if passed, “would seriously damage the free and open Internet,” explained the Wikimedia Foundation
 
The foundation elaborated that this was the first time the English Wikipedia has ever staged a public protest of this nature, adding that the decision was not lightly made.
 
From tomorrow, for 24 hours, the English site will be replaced with a message urging visitors to reach out to congressmen in opposition of SOPA and presumably what it represents. According to The Next Web, the founder, Jimmy Wales explained that he hoped the action would “melt phone systems in Washington.”
 
SOPA has been the subject of controversy since it was first announced towards the end of October last year, as the bill holds website owners responsible for any link to content that is deemed to be copyright material and would enable the US to take action to shut entire sites down.
 
This has been noted by numerous opponents  - including the likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, eBay, Mozilla, Yahoo, AOL, and LinkedIn - as being potentially harmful to the internet as a whole. Sites which rely on user generated content and exert little control over the content being posted, such as YouTube and Facebook, would be particularly vulnerable if the bill was passed.
 
However, it could just as easily apply to sites that allow comments or any level of user interaction.
 
Wikipedia are not the only ones participating in tomorrow’s online protest: Reddit, Mozilla and WordPress are apparently similarly set to go dark for the day, according to The Next Web.
 
While it was announced yesterday that the bill has been placed on indefinite hold, OSNews noted that its counterpart in the Senate, the Protect IP Act (PIPA) was still going ahead, and urged vigilance.

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