New York: Wikipedia will shut down the English-language version of its website on Wednesday to protest anti-piracy legislation under consideration in Congress, the foundation behind the well-liked online encyclopedia said in a statement Monday night.
The website will go dark for 24 hours in a first-time move that brings added muscle to a growing base of critics of the legislation. Wikipedia is considered one of the Internet’s most admired websites, with millions of visitors daily.
The Wikimedia foundation said that “If passed, this legislation will harm the free and open the Internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States.”
The Stop Online Piracy Act in the US House of Representatives and the Protect Intellectual Property Act under consideration in the Senate are intended to crack down on sales of pirated US products overseas.
Tech companies like Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, eBay, AOL and others have spoken out against the legislation and said that it warned the industry’s livelihood. Several online communities such as Reddit, Boing Boing and others have announced plans to go dark in protest too.
The Obama administration also lifts concerns about the legislation over the weekend and said that it will work with Congress on legislation to assist battle piracy and counterfeiting while defending free expression, privacy, security and innovation in the Internet.
Wikipedia’s decision to go dark brings the concern into a much brighter spotlight. A group of Wikipedia users has conferred for over a month, whether it should react to the legislation.