The Blackout

Do you know how many times I have tried to log into Wikipedia today? 


Each time to be greeted by this:

I didn't realise I used it that much but it is so frustrating not being able to use it. I'm sure I'm not alone in that frustration. An estimated 75million people worldwide were affected. Despite its reputation for being somewhat unreliable, I've found Wikipedia to be a quick-fix for almost any information. I'm not saying I'm using it for my dissertation or anything, but it certainly holds a lot of influence over society. And why are we facing a death screen from Wikipedia for 24 hours? 
In protest of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act).

These acts would (at least attempt to):

  • Force companies to police their sites for copyright infringements. This would hugely impact the internet as we know it today: YouTube, Twitter and Wikipedia, to name just a few of the major sites that could be affected. 
  • Block the domain names for "rogue services" e.g. Rapidshare.
  • Sites could be banned from appearing on Google, using Paypal as payment options.
The list of ramifications is endless.

My little brother mentioned that it's just a US law if it does get passed, the reality is that's probably not true. Look at Richard O'Dwyer and his current circumstances; a British citizen who without breaking any British laws, has earned his way through the insane expense of University is now possibly facing time in a maximum security prison in the US. It would appear, instead of going after Rapidshare or Megavideo or even Google that also provides links to illegal sites (but just so happens to be a US based company), they are making an example of a British student with a small website. If it could happen to him, it could happen to any one of us.

In an ever-increasing society of rules and regulations, the future looks bleak. The future looks dark. The future looks blacked out.

I support #wikipediablackout! Show your support here!

Further information available:

BBC News
Mail Online
The Independent

Jessica North

Author & Editor

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