Wikipedia will go dark in protest of online piracy legislation

    Students, know-it-alls and time-killers alike, take notice. Wikipedia will go dark Wednesday.

    It’s the site’s way of taking a stand against two pieces of legislation that would crack down on online piracy. The Stop Online Piracy Act and Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 would allow the U.S. Department of Justice to seek court orders against websites accused of using or enabling copyright-infringing material or counterfeit goods.

    What’s the big deal? The English-language Wikipedia will go dark to express its opposition to the bills that could limit the freely accessible Internet. The legilsation could go after not just sites infringing on copyrights, but related search results.
    “We depend on a legal infrastructure that makes it possible for us to operate. And we depend on a legal infrastructure that also allows other sites to host user-contributed material, both information and expression,” Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner wrote Monday. “For the most part, Wikimedia projects are organizing and summarizing and collecting the world’s knowledge. We’re putting it in context, and showing people how to make to sense of it. But that knowledge has to be published somewhere for anyone to find and use it.”

    Supporters say the bills protect intellectual property and is the best way to enforce copyright laws in this Internet-loving era. Opponents say it’s just a bunch of censorship.

    Check out Philly’s own Leah Kauffman singing out against the legislation in the video below.

    Feed the Feed: Does the Internet need stricter anti-piracy legislation, or would that too greatly impact access to information?

     

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.