If you were among one of the 162 million who tried to visit Wikipedia on Wednesday you would have seen a dark screen explaining their 24-hour blackout in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).
The site has been restored since then, but a BBC report explains how Wikipedia still plans to actively protest these bills that promote federal censorship of the internet. Though we now understand internet access as a human right , bills like SOPA and PIPA could give federal government the power to limit what we can legally access on the internet.
People who visited Wikipedia during the 24-hour blackout were given a link to find and contact their local politicians regarding these bills. About 8 million people reportedly utilized these links to contact politicians. Google reports that they were able to bring more than 4.5 million signatures to a petition opposing the bills.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg also threw himself into the debate on Wednesday urging users to, “Tell your congressmen you want them to be pro-internet. We can't let poorly thought out laws get in the way of the internet's development. Facebook opposes Sopa and Pipa, and we will continue to oppose any laws that will hurt the internet.”
Since yesterday’s protests many lawmakers have withdrawn their initial support of SOPA and PIPA. CNN reports about the bill’s co-sponsor Florida Sen. Marco Rubio statement to withdraw his support. Sen. Rubio took his Facebook to explain why his position changed, writing, “I have decided to withdraw my support for the Protect IP Act. Furthermore, I encourage Senator Reid to abandon his plan to rush the bill to the floor. Instead, we should take more time to address the concerns raised by all sides, and come up with new legislation that addresses Internet piracy while protecting free and open access to the Internet.”
What do you think of the recent protests of SOPA and PIPA?
Do you think Wikipedia made the right move by going black for 24 hours?