Wikipedia and Google joined hundreds of other websites on Wednesday in a sprawling online protest against legislation in the US Congress intended to crack down on Internet piracy.
Wikipedia shut down the English version of its online encyclopaedia for 24 hours to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate version, the Protect IP Act (Pipa).
Google blotted out the celebrated logo on its US home page with a black banner and published an exhortation to users to “Tell Congress: Please don’t censor the Web!”
Like Wikipedia, social news site reddit also went dark, urging visitors to call their lawmaker or sign a petition opposing the House and Senate bills. “These bills provide overly broad mechanisms for enforcement of copyright which would restrict innovation and threaten the existence of websites with user-submitted content,” reddit said.
Culture and technology blog Boing Boing also took itself offline to protest what it called “legislation that would certainly kill us forever”.
Reporters Without Borders shut down its English-language website for 24 hours warning that the bills “would sacrifice online freedom of expression in the name of combating piracy”.
Blogging platform WordPress.com covered its home page with black banners with the word ‘censored’ as did technology magazine Wired.
The popular Cheezburger humour network posted messages of opposition to the bills on all of its 58 sites, which include icanhascheezburger.com, FAIL Blog and The Daily What.
The draft legislation has won the backing of Hollywood, the music industry, the National Association of Manufacturers and other groups.—AFP