Wiki Leads Anti-SOPA 24Hr Black-out Protest; Google Pledges Support

Wiki Blackout

Wiki Blackout

Google confirmed that it would be joining the January 18, protest against SOPA/PIPA. “Like many businesses, entrepreneurs and web users, we oppose these bills because there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking American companies to censor the Internet. So tomorrow we will be joining many other tech companies to highlight this issue on our U.S. home page,” Google said in a statement. While it might not entirely blackout Gmail, Google Search, Maps, or Google+ for the day, the search giant will be raising awareness through banners on its USA sites.

Wikipedia, which has announced a 24 hr blackout of its English version will will be joined by thousands other sites, between 12 and 24 hours. Some popular sites include Wikipedia, Reddit, all 64 Cheezburger Network blogs, Boing Boing, Destructoid, Mozilla, TwitPic, Imgur, MoveOn, MineCraft, FreakOutNation and I Heart Chaos, among many others.Here is a list of those who have joined the protest against SOPA-PIPA.

Yesterday, the bill sponsor Rep. Lamar Smith announced that a markup of the bill will start in February 2012, while coming down heavily on the protests as a “publicity stunt. In a statement, he announced, “It is ironic that a website dedicated to providing information is spreading misinformation about the Stop Online Piracy Act. The bill will not harm Wikipedia, domestic blogs or social networking sites. This publicity stunt does a disservice to its users by promoting fear instead of facts. Perhaps during the blackout, Internet users can look elsewhere for an accurate definition of online piracy.”

Meanwhile the support for Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) are gaining in strength as the PIPA hearing is scheduled for 18th January, 2012 and here is a ProPublica listing on who is on which side.

The Obama administration came out with a statement that it will not support parts of either bill that “reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.”

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on January 18 to hear the arguments of technical experts, technology job creators, Internet investors and legal scholars.

EFF’s activists, who strongly oppose the Bill will be providing live coverage of the event through EFFLive Twitter account.