Wikipedia To Shutdown on January 18th, 2012

Over the past several months, the Sentinel has reported on the growing controversy brewing over the issue of digital copyright. This movement, which has spread throughout the world’s legislatures, seeks to pass laws restricting what can and can not be posted online, in order to protect intellectual property in the modern, digital era.

These attempts have been met with resistance from students, websites, and internet-advocacy groups alike, who say that this will dampen the creative, collaborative spirit found today throughout the Internet.

In Italy, as the Sentinel reported in October, the Italian Parliament opened debate on a proposed law that would put into effect a mechanism whereby individuals could sue to have information about them taken down, and Italian-language Wikipedia shut down in protest for 24 hours.

Several months ago, the Sentinel published this article: Trouble on the Digital Horizon. At the time, the American equivalents of the Italian Wiretapping Act were very much in the early stages of development. However, this is no longer the case.

In order to protest the consideration given to “SOPA” (the Stop Online Piracy Act) and “PIPA” (the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act), Wikipedia- the English-language online encyclopedia we all know and love- is going to voluntarily black out for 24 hours, starting at midnight tonight (Tuesday the 17th, 2012). Other websites, including Reddit and (allegedly) Facebook, may follow suit.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales had this to say.

“Today Wikipedians from around the world have spoken about their opposition to this destructive legislation. 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.”

The White House has, furthermore, declared its willingness to veto any proposed legislation. In a statement, the Obama Administration affirmed that it “will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global internet.”

Sebastian Bates, World News Editor

Posted by on January 17, 2012. Filed under World News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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