Wikipedia and other popular websites turned their homepages into protest banners on Wednesday protesting the proposed U.S. anti-piracy legislation.
Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, shut down its English-language sites and replaced its homepage with information about the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).
The decision to black out the site was taken by the Wikipedia community of writers and editors by voting. Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, said that the bill is quite clumsily drafted legislation, dangerous and won't stop the real problem of piracy.
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) legislations aim to stop on online sales of pirated American movies, music and other copy-righted materials by forcing Internet companies to block access to foreign sites offering such material. Major media houses in USA are supporting the bill with the hope of curbing piracy.
"To date, they (Congress) have only really heard from professional lobbyists and Hollywood, and haven't heard from people about how they use the Internet and why it should remain the way it is," The Wall Street Journal quoted Mr. Wales as saying. "Our view is that Google is big enough to look out for themselves. Our interest is really about the fundamental structure of the Internet," he added.