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SOPA blackout: Wikipedia, Google protest antipiracy proposals

This screen shot shows blacked-out Wikipediwebsite announcing 24-hour protest against proposed legislatiU.S. Congress intended protect intellectual property thcritics say could

This screen shot shows the blacked-out Wikipedia website, announcing a 24-hour protest against proposed legislation in the U.S. Congress, intended to protect intellectual property that critics say could facilitate censorship, referred to as the "Stop Online Piracy Act," or "SOPA," and the "Protect IP Act," or "PIPA." (AP Photo/Wikipedia)

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Updated: January 18, 2012 5:17PM



January 18 is a date that will live in ignorance, as Wikipedia started a 24-hour blackout of its English-language articles, joining other sites in protesting pending U.S. legislation aimed at shutting down sites that share pirated movies and other content.

Reddit.com shut down its social news service for 12 hours. Other sites made their views clear without cutting off surfers. Google blacked out the logo on its home page, directing surfers to a page where they could add their names to a petition against the bills.

Local listings site Craiglist took a middle route, changing its local home pages to a black screen directing users to an anti-legislation page. After 10 seconds, a link to the main site appears on the home page, but some surfers missed that and were fooled into thinking the whole site was blacked out.

The Internet companies are concerned that the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and the Protect Intellectual Property Act under consideration in the Senate, if passed, could be used to target legitimate sites where users share content.

The 24-hour Wikipedia blackout is an unprecedented move for the online encyclopedia. The decision was reached after polling the community of contributors, but dissenters say political advocacy undermines the site’s mission as a neutral source.

However, it’s not complete: the block can be bypassed by changing browser settings to disable JavaScript, or by using the version of the site designed for cellphone screens.

There’s also a “mirror” or copy, of Wikipedia called The Free Dictionary, but it’s not up to date.

———

Online:

Wikipedia for mobiles: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/

“Mirror” site of Wikipedia: http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/



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