"Student warning! Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday! #sopa"
That's just one of the many alarming Tweets sent out by Wikipedia Co-Founder Jimmy Wales yesterday. What's Wales talking about?
According to Mashable, "Wikipedia will go offline Wednesday to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)." SOPA is a bill that's meant to expand the rights for U.S. law enforcement and copyright owners who want to fight online piracy.
SOPA's opponents claim the bill would have an extremely negative effect on user-generated sites like YouTube, and could potentially lead to complete shut-downs of popular social Web sites like Etsy, where individuals sell handmade jewelry, customized totes, and more. "The intention is not the same as China’s Great Firewall, a nationwide system of Web censorship, but the practical effect could be similar," Journalist Rebecca MacKinnon asserted in an op-ed piece.
Those who oppose SOPA also worry that the bill could weaken Internet safe harbor protections, kill E-commerce businesses, and threaten virtual private networks (VPNs).
The scheduled blackout will affect a massive amount of people -- approximately 25 million Internet users access Wikipedia's English content each day. Mashable reports that "Wikipedia’s decision means those millions of visitors will be greeted not with the usual digital tome of knowledge, but with a screen explaining the company’s stance on the bill and information on how to take action against SOPA."
Do you think Wikipedia's Wednesday Blackout will help prevent the passing of SOPA? Share your thoughts below!