Wikipedia plans blackout despite Sopa shelving

US Senate

Wikipedia is set to go ahead with a site blackout, even though the Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) has effectively been ditched.

The Wikimedia Foundation has pledged to blackout the English version of Wikipedia for 24 hours on 18 January in protest of Sopa and the PROTECT IP (Pipa) bill in the US Senate.

"Today Wikipedians from around the world have spoken about their opposition to this destructive legislation," said Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia.

This is an extraordinary action for our community to take.

"This is an extraordinary action for our community to take - and while we regret having to prevent the world from having access to Wikipedia for even a second, we simply cannot ignore the fact that Sopa and Pipa endanger free speech both in the United States and abroad, and set a frightening precedent of internet censorship for the world."

Sopa and Pipa have been causing a stir in the US. In particular, many have taken umbrage with the allowance for ISPs to block websites from, much in the same way the UK's Digital Economy Act had proposed.

Sopa, which was going through the US House of Representatives, has effectively been killed off after representative Eric Cantor announced he would stop all action on the bill.

Wikipedia, which has recently been campaigning to get more sponsorship from users, will continue with its blackout on Wednesday as Pipa could still pass through the Senate.

"If passed, this legislation will harm the free and open internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States," Wikipedia said.

SOPA has faced plenty of opposition. The Obama administration said it was concerned about legislation that would force internet service providers to block access to websites deemed to be infringing copyright.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch took to Twitter yesterday to lambaste the Obama Government's stance on Sopa.

Various tech companies have distanced themselves from Sopa support, some soon after Anonymous threatened to take action against those in favour of the bill.

EA, Nintendo and Sony all recently backed away from the legislation.

Hosting company GoDaddy reportedly lost 100,000 domains in a matter of days after it emerged the company supported the Sopa bill. The company subsequently distanced itself from the proposed legislation.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.