Wikipedia has announced it will black out the English-language version of its site for 24 hours beginning on Wednesday as a way to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that’s moving through Congress.
The bill, authored by Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, has 31 cosponsors in the U.S. House. Reps. Colleen Hanabusa and Mazie Hirono are not among them, and DC808 is awaiting a response on whether the congresswomen support the measure.
SOPA would criminalize unauthorized streaming of copyrighted materials online. Supporters of the bill — including some in the film and music industries — say it’s necessary to protect their livelihoods.
Opponents say the measure would change the fundamental openness of the Internet, and impede free speech. The bill would allow the federal government to “black list” websites, which critics say amounts to censorship.
A related bill in the U.S. Senate has the support of 41 senators. Neither Sen. Daniel Akaka nor Sen. Daniel Inouye is a co-sponsor.
The White House issued a statement over the weekend expressing concern about online censorship.