By Yamiche Alcindor
Joining the protest against two proposed federal Internet regulation bills, Wikipedia’s English-language site will be blacked out for all of Wednesday, co-founder Jimmy Wales announced on Twittertoday.
Beginning at midnight ET on Jan. 18, visitors will see a protest message for 24 hours, Wales tweeted. The move will affect 30 million to 40 million users, he said, correcting an initial figure of 100 million.
“This is going to be wow,” read one of his tweets.
Wikipedia and several other sites are calling on lawmakers to block the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). They are concerned the laws will “hold website owners liable for links to sources of illegal music and movie downloading, with a detrimental effect on free speech online,” The Financial Times reports.
Reddit and the Cheezburger network, which includes such sites as The Daily What and Fail Blog, also plan to shut down to protest SOPA, The Washington Post reports. The document service Scribd already made a billion pages vanish in protest, the Post says.
Craigslist posted a message to all its users explaining it and other websites’ opposition to the bills.
Meanwhile, Wales tweeted this: “Student warning! Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday! #sopa”
On Saturday, the White House urged that SOPA be vetoed and spelled out what it would support in anti-piracy legislation. The House leaders then said they would shelve the SOPA bill until a “consensus” could be reached, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Sunday he hoped to “move forward” with a PIPA amendment when lawmakers return from recess, The Hill says.
ProPublica has compiled a database showing how members of Congress are lining up on the two bills.