Wikipedia protests SOPA and PIPA with blackout, bills get suspended

Wikipedia+posts+a+blacked+out+homepage+on+Jan.+18.+Several+Websites+protested+the+SOPA+and+PIPA+bills+which+were+suspended+on+Jan.+20.+

Wikipedia posts a blacked out homepage on Jan. 18. Several Websites protested the SOPA and PIPA bills which were suspended on Jan. 20.

by Christian Eck

Wikipedia’s screen went to black for one day, on Jan. 18, to protest SOPA and PIPA. The only items on the screen were the words “Imagine a World without Free Knowledge.”

Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) was a bill proposed by the US House of Representatives, and its mission was to protect the creator’s property. Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) was introduced to re-write the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeit Act. With these laws enacted, search engines would not be allowed to redirect anyone to a site with any infringement on copyrighted material.

Other popular sites such as Google, Mozilla, and Reddit participated in the blackout protest on Jan. 18 to send a clear message to government of their view on these proposed restrictions.

“I think they (SOPA and PIPA) are ridiculous,” Conner Markwell, 11, said. “The government shouldn’t restrict our access to information.”

On Jan. 19, the Federal Government shut down Megaupload for distributing illegallycopied material. The reason this caused such an uproar was because this site had other people’s files and those files are now not accessible. Opponents of the bills believe closings like these could be the norm if SOPA and PIPA become laws.

On Jan. 20, the bills’ votes were postponed indefinitely. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith said that his committee would not consider SOPA until a compromise was met.

“I was very happy that it got suspended,” Sara Gift, 11, said, “I didn’t believe SOPA was a good idea to begin with.”

Wikipedia posts a blacked out homepage on Jan. 18. Several Websites protested the SOPA and PIPA bills which were suspended on Jan. 20.