Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales
Wikipedia, Reddit say SOPA protests still on
Wales warns controversial legislation far from dead
TechLife | 17 Jan 2012 :
Wikipedia has decided to continue with its plans for a 24-hour blackout of the English version of the online encyclopedia on Wednesday to protest against controversial legislation in the US. Social news site Reddit will be joining the protest, taking its website offline for 12 hours on the same day.
Rumours that social network Twitter would follow suit were quashed by CEO Dick Costolo, who tweeted: "Closing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish." Costolo later clarified that he was talking about Twitter and not about Wikipedia's decision.
A statement from Wikimedia, operators of Wikipedia, said: "If passed, this legislation [SOPA and PIPA] will harm the free and open Internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States."
Three officials of US President Barack Obama's administration issued a statement on Saturday regarding legislation including SOPA, the Protect IP Act (PIPA), and the Online Protection and Digital Enforcement Act (OPEN), in response to petitions.
"While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet," said the statement signed by Victoria Espinel, White House intellectual property enforcement coordinator; Aneesh Chopra, US chief technology officer; and Howard Schmidt, special assistant to the president and cybersecurity coordinator for the National Security Staff.
Trevor Timm, an activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said on Monday that the Obama administration drew "an important line in the sand" by stating it will not support legislation "that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet".
Yet, the fight is still far from over, he said, as the Senate is still poised to bring PIPA to the floor on 24 January, and SOPA proponents in the House are likely to try to revive the legislation. Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican, said he's been assured by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor that SOPA can still move forward, subject to a consensus being reached.
Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia's co-founder (pictured), tweeted: "Rumours of the death of SOPA may be premature" and added that PIPA was still a concern. "The best action for twitter might be to let us continue to use the service to organise our protests."
Google, Yahoo, Facebook, legislators, and some key personalities like Internet pioneer Vint Cerf have opposed the SOPA legislation.
IDG News Service