Intellectual Property

Wikipedia Plans US Blackout to Protest Anti-Piracy Bill

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Wikipedia is planning to protest anti-piracy legislation with a 24-hour blackout of its English-language website on Wednesday.

The nonprofit that operates the online encyclopedia written by its readers said in a statement that the legislation would harm the free and open Internet, report Bloomberg News, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Several other websites were also planning a blackout the same day, including Reddit and BoingBoing, the Times says.

Among the bills being targeted are the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act, the Times says. The legislation is designed to stop the sale of stop illegally copied movies and music on foreign pirate websites. According to the Wall Street Journal, “the bills would require Internet companies to hobble access to foreign pirate websites, bar search engines from linking to them and prevent U.S. companies from placing ads on them.”

The Wall Street Journal outlines two provisions disliked by opponents. One would allow the Justice Department to get court orders to block domain names with copied content. Another would allow copyright holders to ask credit card companies to bar payments to websites hosting pirated content.

The Obama administration indicated on Saturday that it opposes the legislation and “the prognosis for the measure is now uncertain,” the Wall Street Journal says.

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