Wednesday, January 18, 2012


US government has passed two bills - the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) & the Senate version, the Protect IP Act (PIPA) aimed at cracking down on online piracy. It is being supported by film and music industry which often sees its products sold illegally. Wikipedia, one of the internet's most popular websites, with about 30 million visitors’ daily felt if the bills are passed, this legislation will harm the free and open internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States. So it has imposed a 24-hour blackout on its English language website but some web surfers are already finding ways around the problem.  For the diehard Wiki-fan, within minutes of the blackout kicking in, alternative system has been arranged that relies on Google's cache of online sites. 

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia said that he is personally asking everyone who cares about freedom and openness on the internet to contact their senators and representative. He added that the things we have learned recently during the Arab Spring events are that the internet is a powerfully effective tool for the public to organize and have their voices heard."  This is the first time Wikipedia's English version has gone dark. Its Italian site came down once briefly in protest to an internet censorship bill put forward by the Berlusconi government.

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