SOPA/Learn more

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Call your elected officials.

Tell them you are their constituent, and you oppose SOPA and PIPA.

Why?

SOPA and PIPA put the burden on website owners to police user-contributed material and call for the unnecessary blocking of entire sites. Small sites won't have sufficient resources to defend themselves. Big media companies may seek to cut off funding sources for their foreign competitors, even if copyright isn't being infringed. Foreign sites will be blacklisted, which means they won't show up in major search engines. SOPA and PIPA build a framework for future restrictions and suppression.

In a world in which politicians regulate the Internet based on the influence of big money, Wikipedia -- and sites like it -- cannot survive.

Congress says it's trying to protect the rights of copyright owners, but the "cure" that SOPA and PIPA represent is worse than the disease. SOPA and PIPA are not the answer: they will fatally damage the free and open Internet.

Blackout Page Text

IMAGINE A WORLD WITHOUT FREE KNOWLEDGE

For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage this site and your ability to access information online. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia. Learn more.

Contact your representatives.

Landing Page for U.S. Readers / Congress look-up page

For maximum impact, please consider calling your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators. Explain that you are a constituent and that you oppose these bills and similar future legislation. If you'd like to get more informed on SOPA/PIPA, please click here.

Things you may want to say to your Senator or Representative

"As one of your concerned constituents, I urge you to oppose SOPA and PIPA, and any future bill that would censor free speech and damage the security of the Internet."

Regarding censorship

“The Internet has become an important communications tool allowing the free flow of ideas. As introduced in the House and the Senate, SOPA and PIPA would give the Justice Department and courts tremendous power to shut down entire sites. Unfortunately, these bills ignore the principles of the First Amendment that require tailored solutions in lieu of across-the-board censorship. They represent terrible precedents for the United States and for the world.”


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Learn more about SOPA/PIPA below

The Wikipedia community has decided to blackout the English version of Wikipedia for 24 hours on January 18th in protest of proposed legislation — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate. This legistlation, if passed, will harm the free and open Internet. These bills endanger free speech both in the United States and abroad, potentially setting a frightening precedent of Internet censorship for the world. If you are in the U.S., you can click visit Wikipedia and enter your zipcode to take action.

Share your view and tell the world

  Make your voice heard!

More information

Blog post from Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director, Sue Gardner:

http://blog.wikimedia.org/2012/01/16/wikipedias-community-calls-for-anti-sopa-blackout-january-18/

Official Wikimedia Foundation press release:

http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_releases/English_Wikipedia_to_go_dark

Statement from the community affirming blackout:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:SOPA_initiative/Action

Electronic Frontier Foundation blog post on the lingering faults in SOPA/PIPA:

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/01/how-pipa-and-sopa-violate-white-house-principles-supporting-free-speech

Wikipedia's articles on SOPA and PIPA:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PROTECT_IP_Act

Questions and Answers

Talking points

  • This Wednesday, January 18, 2012, the English Wikipedia will be protesting SOPA/PIPA with a global Wikipedia blackout. Readers who come to Wikipedia will see a message from Wikipedia about SOPA/PIPA and urging them to contact their Representatives or Senators to act. This protest will last 24 hours - from midnight to midnight EST (05:00 UTC Wed to 05:00 UTC Thu).
  • This decision was made by Wikipedia’s global community. Although the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization that operates Wikipedia, opposes SOPA and PIPA, the decision was made by the community and that decision is now being implemented.
  • SOPA/PIPA are still real threats to the free and open web. Although recent media reports have suggested that the bills are losing support, they are not dead. On January 17th, SOPA's sponsor said the bill will be discussed and pushed forward in early February. PIPA could be debated in the U.S. Senate as soon as next week. There is a need to send a strong message that bills like SOPA and PIPA should not be allowed. Legislatures must understand that they must involve the internet industry in the law-making process to ensure innovation and protection of free expression.
  • Although the bills have changed, they are still a real threat to the free, open, and secure web. Among other serious problems in the current draft of the bills, the requirement exists for US-based sites to actively police links to purported infringing sites. These kinds of self-policing activities are non-sustainable for large, global projects - including possibly projects like Wikipedia. The legislative language is ambiguous and overly broad, even though it touches on protected speech. Our community is incredibly vigilant and proactive in keeping Wikipedia free of links or content that may infringe copyright.

What exactly is Wikipedia doing?

On January 18, 2012, the English Wikipedia community will be protesting SOPA/PIPA with a global English Wikipedia blackout. U.S. readers who come to English Wikipedia will see a message from Wikipedia about SOPA/PIPA that tells them to contact their Representatives or Senators to act. This protest will last 24 hours - from midnight to midnight EST.

Why is this happening?

The English Wikipedia community is opposed to SOPA/PIPA. In an unprecedented decision, the Wikipedia community has chosen to blackout the English version of Wikipedia for 24 hours, in protest against proposed legislation in the United States — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives and PROTECTIP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. 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 can only exist in an open and uncensored Internet. SOPA, PIPA, or any future legislation that censors free speech, damages Internet security, or inhibits innovation will hurt and undermine the Internet and the work of our community.

Isn't SOPA dead? Wasn't the bill shelved and didn't the White House declare that it won't sign anything that resembles the current bill?

No, SOPA/PIPA are not dead. On January 17th, SOPA's sponsor said the bill will be discussed in early February. There are signs PIPA may be debated on the Senate floor next week. The threat of SOPA/PIPA remains and the English Wikipedia community wants to send a strong message that such attacks on the free and open web are not welcome.

Aren’t SOPA/PIPA as they stand not even really a threat to Wikipedia? Won't the DNS provisions be removed?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a great post about this here. SOPA/PIPA are still alive, and they’re still a threat to the free and open web, which means they are a threat to Wikipedia. SOPA/PIPA are still alive, and they’re still a threat to the free and open web, which means they are a threat to Wikipedia. For example, in its current form, SOPA would require U.S. websites to take on the heavy burden of actively policing third-party links for infringing content. And even with the DNS provisions removed, the bill would give the U.S. government extraordinary and loosely-defined powers to take control over content and information on the free web. In its current form the bill would also require U.S. websites to take on the duty of actively policing links for infringing content. Taking one bad provision out doesn't make the bills okay – these bills are still an attack on the free and open web.

What about OPEN?

The OPEN Act is different piece of legislation from SOPA/PIPA, which we're monitoring, but SOPA/PIPA are the focus of this protest.

Why is the Wikipedia mobile site still available?

In its blackout decision, the community has asked us to preserve emergency access options to Wikipedia. We've preserved access via the mobile site, and via a small number of backdoors to the main site.

Did the Italian Wikipedia’s protest action last year achieve its goal of stopping the Italian law in question?

It seems likely that the efforts of the Italian Wikipedia community around a similar Internet censorship bill compelled the Italian Parliament to announce that it would modify the proposed law to include only large online news sites -- meaning that any information outlets that don't fall into that category, Wikipedia among them, would be excluded from the law's reach.

Do you think U.S. users will respond to this action?

The English Wikipedia blackout is a call for action. We encourage U.S. citizens to get in touch with their Congressional representatives and voice their opposition to SOPA/PIPA. This extraordinary collaborative effort will hopefully reach a wider public audience and help bring attention and spark discussion amongst those who are familiar with the issue and those who have not heard much about it as well.

What is the significance of acting in concert with other major sites? Will this really produce a politically effective message beyond acting in isolation?

The Wikipedia community independently selected January 18th because that was the date the U.S. House of Representatives had contemplated hearings and other actions around SOPA. Although those hearings are not occurring today as planned, they will likely be rescheduled to a later date to avoid the increased public opposition to the legislation that we see today. There have already been significant discussions about moving forward with SOPA and PIPA.

For these reasons, the Wikipedia community feels that now is the time to act. And when many organizations and projects join together in action, it is more likely that their voices will be heard.

Is it still possible to access Wikipedia in any way?

The Wikipedia community, as part of their request to the Wikimedia Foundation to carry out this protest, asked us to ensure that we make English Wikipedia accessible in some way during an emergency. The English Wikipedia will be accessible on mobile devices and smart phones. Because the protest message is powered by JavaScript, it's also possible to view Wikipedia by completely disabling JavaScript in your browser.

Alternates

JD Forrester Version

For over a decade, global volunteers have compiled billions of facts and contributed millions of hours to build Wikipedia.

We have done this because we love to share knowledge with everyone. We have only been able to do this because the Internet is free and open.

But right now, Congress is considering two bills that would hand repressive censorship tools to large commercial lobbyists.

If SOPA or the PROTECTIP Act pass, they would destroy the freedom and openness that has made Wikipedia what it is. We have blacked-out access to Wikipedia for today to show what might happen.

Please, consider whether a free and open Internet that includes Wikipedia is something you, too, care about. Use the tool below to contact your local representative or senator. Tell them that you oppose these acts. Tell them to protect the Internet.

JD Forrester Version 2

For over a decade, global volunteers have compiled billions of facts and contributed millions of hours to build Wikipedia.

We have only been able to do this because the Internet is free and open.

But right now, the United States Congress is currently considering legislation that would hand repressive censorship tools to large commercial lobbyists, which could destroy the freedom and openness that has made Wikipedia what it is today.

Please, consider whether a free and open Internet that includes Wikipedia is something that you, too, care about. Use the tool below to take action. Help protect the Internet.

FT2 Version

The Internet needs you to protect free speech

For over a decade, global volunteers have compiled billions of facts and contributed millions of hours to build Wikipedia.

We have only been able to do this because the Internet is free and open.

Free speech is in peril like never before. The United States Congress is currently considering striking out rights of free speech and other laws which made Wikipedia possible, forcing us to censor our editor discussions and the information we show you.

If passed, it would destroy the freedom of Americans to write without censorship, on every website we have, in any language, everywhere.

Please, consider whether a free and open Internet that includes Wikipedia is something that you, too, care about. Use the tool below to take action. Help protect the Internet.

Draft Things to say to elected Representatives

Cybersecurity

As one of your concerned constituents, I urge you to oppose a bill that would damage the security of the Internet (in the House, the Stop Online Piracy Act; in the Senate, the PROTECT IP Act).  A safe and secure Web is vital to our privacy and to commerce.  Over a hundred established authorities on the Internet believe that the required blocking of Internet sites is badly thought out and threatens Internet security.  I respectfully urge you to oppose this bill.

Censorship

As one of your concerned constituents, I urge you to oppose a bill that would censor the Internet (in the House, the Stop Online Piracy Act; in the Senate, the PROTECT IP Act).  The Internet has become the most important communications tool for the free flow of ideas.  This bill would give the Justice Department power to shut down entire websites — even if the website or its information is not the subject of a complaint.  It could provide a model for repressive regimes (who could promote it as the ‘American’ model).  I respectfully urge you to oppose this bill.

Innovation

As one of your concerned constituents, I urge you to oppose a bill that would chill innovation on the Internet (in the House, the Stop Online Piracy Act; in the Senate, the PROTECT IP Act).  The Internet has created successful multi-billion-dollar businesses — and it has benefited thousands of small businesses by providing them a previously unreachable worldwide market.  This bill would put unreasonable burdens on Internet Service Providers and search engines and would threaten to suffocate our Internet economy.  I respectfully urge you to oppose this bill.


Mobile Learn More Page

Mobile page and message

Banner message

IMAGINE A WORLD WITHOUT FREE KNOWLEDGE
Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could cripple this site and your ability to access information online. Learn more.

(link to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:SOPA_initiative/Mobile_Learn_more)