The Wikipedia Blackout Begins in SOPA Protest

On Wednesday morning at 12:01 a.m., Wikipedia went dark for the first time in history over a high-profile and highly controversial protest against pending legislation in the U.S. Congress that could, if enacted, forever change the Internet as we know it.

“For more than a decade,” the Wikipedia site reads, “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.”

In October 2011, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. On the surface, SOPA was aimed at eliminating the illegal copying and dissemination of movies, music, and other digital content.

But the proposed legislation was quickly accused of over-reaching in its desired authority. As a result, Google, Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter, and other behemoths of the Web stood united in their opposition to SOPA.

And today, Wikipedia and other large online entities are going dark in protest.

“While I support their goal of reducing copyright infringement (which I don’t believe these acts would accomplish),” says Google co-founder Sergey Brin, “I am shocked that our lawmakers would contemplate such measures that would put us on a par with the most oppressive nations in the world.”

Do you believe the Wikipedia blackout will influence members of Congress to kill SOPA before SOPA, as critics claim, kills the openness of the Internet?

Please weigh in with a thought of comment below.