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I Can’t Learn About SOPA Because Wikipedia’s Down


Ben Jourdan

Last Wednesday, in response to the House’s proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), the web roared back in protest. Wikipedia, the online community-based encyclopedia, shut down its English portion of the website for the full day and displayed the following message in its place:

For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia.

Search engine giant, Google, also protested the bill by blacking out its logo and requesting users sign a petition on the website against the bill.

Apparently, Congress heard the protests loud and clear. Only two days after the web protests, the main House sponsors of the bills announced that they are going to postpone any further action at this time.

Wikipedia and Google were not the only organizations with something to say—nonprofits chimed in, as well.  Public Knowledge, a nonprofit that fights to preserve the openness of the Internet, asserts that the bill could harm nonprofits. A section of the claim states that SOPA could interfere with DNS servers that nonprofits may use to receive online donations. The Huffington Post has also published concerns that have been addressed by other nonprofits about SOPA and PIPA.

The bills’ backers believe that the SOPA and PIPA bills will stop copyright infringement and the sale of pirated and counterfeited goods on the Internet.  The main argument against the legislation is that these bills would limit the freedom on the Internet and impose outlandish costs and censorship.

From the nonprofit perspective, share you thoughts and let us know what you think.