By Glen Davis
In an interesting protest against the SOPA and PIPA bills in Congress, the English version of Wikipedia went dark at midnight today. Some report being able to access the online encyclopedia through certain smartphones according to CNN.
The protest is over concerns that these bill would allow the United States to take down domains for virtually any excuse. Proponents say the bills are necessary to protect intellectual property available on the Internet. Thefts and piracy do present a problem, but industry estimates of the dollar loss could be inflated.
People attempting to access the site are met with a dark screen which reads, “Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge.” The site adds a search block for your zip code and will present the phone numbers and address of your Congressmen so that you can lodge a complaint.
With other sites joining the protest, there seems to have been a wave of activity and phone calls to Washington. Infowars’ Steve Watson wrote, “Reports of flood of calls to the offices of elected representatives, as well as widespread media coverage seems to be having a significant effect.” He reports that several former cosponsors are bailing out of the bill.
“One member of Congress, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, who opposes the bills, said the unprecedented blackouts had ‘turned the tide against a backroom lobbying effort by interests that aren’t used to being told no’,” the CNN article reported.
Of course, there is always the one guy who does not get the memo. PCWorld does not seem to be getting into the spirit of the protest publishing an article on How to Access Wikipedia on SOPA Protest Day.
A man by the name of Thomas Jefferson announced his opposition to SOPA/PIPA in a letter to Judge John Tyler in 1804. “Never shall [I] deflect from the intention to fortify the public liberty by every possible means, and to put it out of the power of the few to riot on the labors of the many. No experiment can be more interesting that that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions. The firmness with which the people have withstood the late abuses of the press, the discernment they have manifested between truth and falsehood, show that they may safely be trusted to hear everything true and false, and to form a correct judgment between them… I hold it, therefore, certain, that to open the doors of truth, and to fortify the habit of testing everything by reason, are the most effectual manacles we can rivet on the hands of our successors to prevent their manacling the people with their own consent.”