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Wikipedia Enforces 24-Hour Blackout in Protest of SOPA and PIPA

Wikipedia Blackout Screengrab - H 2012

The online encyclopedia goes dark with the message: "Imagine a world without free knowledge."

The Wikipedia blackout is now underway.

Like it threatened, the web information portal began a 24-hour protest of anti-piracy legislation on Wednesday: now, when you go on a page, seconds later it becomes hidden and replaced with a black screen that reads:

"For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia."

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The site then links to a Wikipedia entry on the bills in question, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA), proposed to curb media pirates but deemed too broad by the tech industry. It asks readers to contact their representatives.

On Monday, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales announced on his Twitter feed that the English language version of the highly-trafficked database would go dark two days later. In solidarity, Google has gone semi-dark, shrouding its famous banner in black.

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"Student warning," Wales wrote. "Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday! #sopa"

Many fear the potential passing of SOPA and PIPA into law could infringe on free speech and innovation. Also staging blackouts: Reddit and website collective Cheezburger network. Craigslist has also gone dark.