On Wednesday, searchers will find a site-wide Wikipedia blackout if they go looking to research information on the Net’s largest free encyclopedia. Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, has announced a total shutdown of the site on Wednesday as part of a huge SOPA protest. SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) is one of two bills currently before congress as part of an effort to stop illegal copying and sharing of copyrighted content on the Internet.Â SOPA supportersÂ include companies like Ford Motor Company and Electronic Arts, Sony Pictures & Music Entertainment, Dow Chemical Company, Walt Disney Company, Time Warner, Viacom and Walmart.
While on the surface, bills to stop illegal copyright violations might seem like a positive thing, opponents say the bills go to far and could damage the right to free speech and freedom of expression. According to protesters, SOPA (H.R. 3261 Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (S. 968 (PROTECT IP Act) “would seriously undermine the effective mechanism Congress enacted in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to provide a safe harbor for Internet companies that act in good faith to remove infringing content from their sights.”