Wikipedia is the biggest name among the approximately 10,000 websites that pledged to go dark Wednesday in a broad Internet protest of the SOPA and PIPA online anti-piracy bills. But word has quickly spread about how to circumvent the blackout.
Visitors to Wikipedia's English-language site -- either directly to its homepage or via a link from a search engine query -- are diverted in seconds to a dark page that asks people to "Imagine a world without free knowledge." There's a couple of sentences about threat from the bills, and a box to enter your ZIP code to help contact your member of Congress about the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect-IP Act.
Mashable.com lists a couple of ways to bypass the blackout screen and get to Wikipedia's pages.
The easiest is to go to Wikipedia's mobile version, which is not being blacked out. You don't have to use a mobile device to do it. The mobile version is available via your Web browser at en.m.wikipedia.org.
There's a black bar at the top that notes the piracy protest, but the rest of the site is fully accessible.
Another easy workaround is the Simple English version of Wikipedia, which is designed for children and adults learning the language. It's not as extensive as Wikipedia's main site, but could be helpful for youngsters working on school projects.
The Village Voice offers another alternative. Wikipedia's foreign-language sites -- with dozens of options, from Afrikaans to Zeêuws -- are not participating in the blackout and are open for surfing if you're multilngual or have quick access to Rosetta Stone.
-- Jim Puzzanghera in Washington
Photo: A laptop in London shows Wikipedia's protest page on Wednesday. Credit: Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images