Wikipedia (along with a number of other sites) is planning to shut itself down for 24 hours this Wednesday as a protest against SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act. SOPA (the Senate version is called PIPA, the Protect IP Act). As you might guess, the idea of the act is to stop piracy by making it possible to “blacklist” or shut down sites that host pirated content.
Critics–including a lot of major websites–say that the effect will instead be to cripple them, and cripple access to information in general, because the law would mean any site with anything on it that might possible be piracy could be shut down entirely (so, like one pirated video on YouTube would mean YouTube would disappear).
For more information about Wikipedia and other sites going dark on Wednesday:
SOPA opponents gaining momentum; Wikipedia to join blackout http://redtape.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/13/10151672-sopa-opponents-gaining-momentum-wikipedia-to-join-blackout
SOPA and Protect-IP Links http://www.swissarmylibrarian.net/2012/01/12/sopa-and-protect-ip-links/
Getting serious about SOPA – what librarians need to do http://www.librarian.net/stax/3778/getting-serious-about-sopa-what-librarians-need-to-do/
(text via Laura Crossett http://friendfeed.com/lsw/dda2e342/publicizing-sopa-stuff-to-your-staff-given-that)
(Thanks to Kendra L. for this text)