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Wikipedia blackout: Wednesday shaping up to be productive workday

January 17, 2012 |  4:47 pm

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, says the site will go dark for 24 hours.

Wikipedia blackout. Reddit going dark. No ICanHazCheezburger, for crying out loud.

Looks like we're all going to have to actually do some work Wednesday, when some of the biggest players in the online world areplanning to pull the plug for 24 hours to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) bills making their way through Congress.

You can keep track of all the unfolding developments at our sister blog, Technology, but here's the quick take: Advocates say the two anti-piracy bills will help protect intellectual property. Critics say those bills amount to Internet censorship.

And some power players, such as Wikipedia, are vowing to go dark to remind folks what life was like before the online encyclopedia (and how much longer homework takes without it). 

Why should you care? Because parts of your Internet are going away in a few hours, starting at midnight tonight. Some sites, such as Wikipedia, are going completely dark; others, such as Google, are planning to use their homepage and other prominent spots to highlight the dispute.

"This is an extraordinary action for our community to take," Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said in a statement Monday announcing Wikipedia's decision to go dark. "While we regret having to prevent the world from having access to Wikipedia for even a second, we simply cannot ignore the fact that SOPA and PIPA endanger free speech both in the United States and abroad, and set a frightening precedent of Internet censorship for the world."

Wikipedia is the Web's fifth-most popular online property, with 470 million monthly users.

Here's the good news, though: If you get in an especially productive Wednesday, you can pretty much slide for the rest of the week, right?


Where's my Wiki?

Internet strike: Wikipedia, Mozilla, Reddit to go dark tonight

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-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, speaks in November during the opening session at the London Cyberspace Conference in London. Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press