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Censorship United States Wikipedia Politics Your Rights Online

Wikipedia Still Set For Full Blackout Wednesday 291

symbolset writes "Jimmy Wales confirms that the entire English language Wikipedia will be on blackout January 18th from midnight to midnight, Eastern Standard Time. The site's 25 million daily users will redirected to an education page with a call to action. Votes are still being taken on the exact implementation." Despite a small victory against SOPA in the House, Wikipedia still feels the blackout is necessary due to the looming Senate vote on PROTECT IP, and as a deterrent to future attempts to revive a similar law under a new name.
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Wikipedia Still Set For Full Blackout Wednesday

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  • Chicken! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:24AM (#38723486)

    Shut it down for a week and you'll be able to almost hear the roar of a billion college students having their term papers failed!

    • Re:Chicken! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jcreus ( 2547928 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:26AM (#38723514)
      In fact, Jimbo Wales — founder of Wikipedia — kindly warned [] students yesterday.
    • Shut it down for a week and you'll be able to almost hear the roar of a billion college students having their term papers failed!

      A billion college students? Since when did 1/7 people go to college around the world?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:25AM (#38723498)

    Sorry, I couldn't resist.

  • I wonder... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by elsurexiste ( 1758620 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:25AM (#38723502) Journal
    ...if the difference in used bandwidth will save Wikipedia a few bucks.
    • by jcreus ( 2547928 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:29AM (#38723540)
      Don't think so. Beginning at 04:50 AM, thousands of millions of people (mostly students) will be reloading the Wikipedia main page at a rate of 60 times per minute, 25 million people. Kind of Slashdot effect!
      • This is assuming they aren't doing their redirect with DNS records that are hosted outside of their infrastructure. Assuming they don't run their own DNS, wikipedia should be able to do this with almost no bandwidth costs.
        • by Lennie ( 16154 )

          I have no idea what you mean from your description, but Wikipedia does run their own DNS. They use PowerDNS for their global DNS load balancing.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      On Wednesday, yes, but today the bandwidth will be gigantic as users rush to download the whole thing [].

    • by rednip ( 186217 )
      Most of the cost of scale are fixed, so the cost savings will only be marginal, if anything the publicity will likely drive volume up in general. However, to compensate, it could drive some donations if simply to reward the best squeaky wheel on the Internet.
  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:29AM (#38723536) Homepage Journal
    Theyll try to buy a new law when the dust settles. the only way to fix this, is to go on constant offensive, and buy lawmakers and laws FOR the internet, and to prevent content industry from buying laws AGAINST it.
    • by schitso ( 2541028 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:34AM (#38723602)
      Even if every one of the bottom 90% put all the money they could towards bribes^H^H^H^H^H^H "contributions" for our lovely leaders, we wouldn't even come close to what interested corporations/conglomerates "contribute".
    • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:36AM (#38723612)
      No, the public opposition was greater than expected. Too much to try for a new law so openly. I predict a sneakier approach: An attempt to sneak something SOPA-like through as an obscure amendment to some apparently unrelated piece of legislation, likely something too popular to oppose easily. Using riders to get unpopular laws through before potential opposition even notices is a time-honored tradition in politics.
    • by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:38AM (#38723632)
      No, if you play the money game against the "content industry" you will lose. What we need to do is take back our republic from the 1%.
      • Although of course, if you do want to play the money game, the best way to play against the content industry is to not buy their crap. That would hurt them far more than trying to outbid for politicians (and it might get them to change their ways without us having to further corrupt our political process).
      • Why? Hollywood's total revenue is lower than the top 5 tech company's profit annually. Google could afford to buy the entire music industry.
    • I might be accused at being a radical for posting this but... Surely the Proper Solution (TM) would be to get lawmakers that cannot be bought but which make laws according to common sense and conscience?

      Just a thought...

      • by Daniel_Staal ( 609844 ) <> on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:46AM (#38724356)

        It would be the proper solution, however: It's not possible. The current problem isn't really that lawmakers are being bought, it's that they have no way to do their jobs without being bought. It takes money to get known enough to win elections, and votes themselves are an almost uselessly imprecise tool to judge preferences, leading to lawmakers needing to listen to some group to understand what their voters want. In the absence of any better system, that tends to be the loudest group with money on an issue. Which is almost invariably a corporation lobbying for it's own benefit. (Or a PAC lobbying for a sub-group of the populations' benefit, typically a sub-group that has money to fund the PAC.)

        The system is operating as designed: Broken.

    • by Jawnn ( 445279 )
      Not sustainable. The public's span of attention is... well, short. The only real way to fix this, and every similar case where corporate welfare is placed ahead of the citizens' welfare, is to do away with corporate personhood and to remove corporate spending from the political process. Public campaign financing, for example.
      • pointless. the corporations will just guarantee lucrative employment after their term for candidates through backdoor dealings, and get their way. thats what they already do with bureaucrats - the people who you cant directly donate money. what happened with the ex fcc commissioner you think ? google it.
    • by Tom ( 822 )

      The answer to corruption is not to pay more than the other guys. The answer is to run out the corrupt bastards in such a way that the next bunch gets the message. Shooting them generally works fairly well for a generation or two, then you have to repeat it to refresh everyone's memory.

  • I believe this must be the largest virtual protest ever made. It will affect what, 20 million persons? I hope this is enough to get the regular public to know about this law.
  • Murdoch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tim4444 ( 1122173 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:32AM (#38723576)

    I suppose now Murdoch will accuse Wikipedia of being a "piracy leader" along with Google. After all, Wikipedia just serves up other people's content and takes money (what they call "donations") for it.

    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      Of course that's what the hypocrite -- whose own staff hacked people's phones, presumably with his blessing, would say.

      Why don't we ask Jack the Ripper about prostitutes? John Wayne Gacy about young men? Timmy McVeigh about the Federal government?

    • by Inda ( 580031 )
      Murdoch is quite able to police his own newspapers. Google should be expected to do the same for the internet.

      Seriously, "Murdoch supports SOPA" should be on these strike sites if public support is needed.
  • Political reality (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EmperorOfCanada ( 1332175 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:33AM (#38723580)
    Politicians, welcome, I would like you to meet reality. His name is the Sheep With Gun and he is going on strike.

    Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
  • by shoppa ( 464619 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:33AM (#38723590)
    I'm going to start printing out Wikipedia today.

    I figure I'll be done by Tuesday night.

    If anyone needs something looked up on Wednesday, give me a call.
  • by eddy ( 18759 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:34AM (#38723600) Homepage Journal

    Wouldn't mind them helping with awareness of the RWA, where publishers are basically trying to make public access policies illegal. Read more here [].

  • by John3 ( 85454 ) <(moc.sllenroc) (ta) (3nhoj)> on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:35AM (#38723610) Homepage Journal

    Probably been posted already on a prior thread, but if you want to support the blackout on your website, blog, twitter, facebook, etc. there is useful info here [].

  • by ciderbrew ( 1860166 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:44AM (#38723680)
    Could you shut down the Disney site as The Lion King is a copy of Kimba?
  • by boristdog ( 133725 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:54AM (#38723764)

    With all the sites going dark tomorrow, my work production will see a marked rise.

    • by Lennie ( 16154 )

      Didn't Google mention they would do the same ?

      Not sure if they would, but if they did I know some parts of my work probably won't become easier. Bing might help fill that gap slightly.

      What would happen if they disabled gmail too ? That would be 'interresting' to watch.

    • by mrxak ( 727974 )

      I plan on taking that extra time spent getting lost on wikipedia links I'd normally lose in my day and write letters to my Senators and Representative, then call up all their offices. Unfortunately both my Senators are co-sponsors of PIPA, so I don't expect much movement there.

  • I'm all for calling attention to stupid legislation, but causing major inconvenience to me just angers me against you. I think a full blackout against reading the site is just BS. Just make everyone do a couple of extra clicks to get to the content and call it good. I suppose I'll brush up on my French in case I need to look something up that day.

    • Sorry, but you don't get how protests are supposed to work. You are like those that tell protesters to go protest among themselves in a stadium out of sight of everyone else. Protesting is designed to get your attention. To get peoples attention who are unaware. So you would be angry with Rosa Parks who did not sit in the back of the buss causing an uproar and inconveniencing you?

    • by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <atd7&cornell,edu> on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:44AM (#38724328) Homepage

      No, a few clicks through of inconvenience won't convince users just how bad the situation is.

      They need to be given a "taste" of post-SOPA life to truly understand it.

    • by smagruder ( 207953 ) <> on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @11:03AM (#38724616) Homepage

      You can take out your anger on me. I'm one of the Wikipedians who said Strong Support for a hard global blackout. I'm sorry that you're inconvenienced, but THAT'S THE POINT.

    • by cmat ( 152027 )

      Ah yes, what's wrong with the world today: something that is obviously no good causing you grief? Well don't do anything that would cause discomfort! It's only cool to protest if it doesn't inconvenience anyone, if that's ok with you? No? Oh well, then we'll just go on with our lives as usual.

      I disagree strongly for thinking that a "major inconvenience" is not warranted when trying to stand up for what you believe in . In a world where we as individuals feel unable to affect change, I applaud individuals

      • by mark-t ( 151149 )
        But how many of these inconvenienced people are actually going to even *WANT* to know about the issues that Wikipedia et al are trying to take a stand over? All I fear this blackout is liable to look like is that a few important players are throwing an immature temper tantrum over something that might further they own agenda, but doesn't matter at all to the average person, because they simply don't perceive their own ignorance on how this bill will affect them. Some might take the opportunity to find out
  • Every time such law is successfully fought, it comes back under another name.

    We should go further : ask for a law that protects DNSs and internet freedom. Even a constitutional amendment, why not ?
  • I wish these sites would limit the black-out to US users instead of making it a blanket black-out. Yes, I know SOPA and its ilk would affect everyone, but as a non-US citizen, there isn't a damn thing I can do to stop it.

  • by dbet ( 1607261 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:16AM (#38723950)
    If Google were to be awesome and join the blackout, everyone would get the message. Wikipedia and Reddit get a lot of traffic, but Google gets pretty much everyone else.
  • by Fippy Darkpaw ( 1269608 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:18AM (#38723976)
    That's a lot of time where I could have been deleting other people's efforts. :( - A Proud Wikipedia Editor
  • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:24AM (#38724036) Homepage

    I haven't given any money to Wikipedia in a long time. This seems like a good opportunity to catch up on my donations. I figure to do it while the blackout is in progress, if the donation page is up, or right after if they have donations blacked out.

    It is easy to find examples of people getting paid to do things that harm society. Here's a chance to pay a company, which has earned the money, for doing the right thing. They even make the first show of good faith -- every day -- by existing, not charging, and not accepting advertisements.

  • by assertation ( 1255714 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:33AM (#38724186)

    If not, please consider it.

  • The voting was closed last evening and the community decision was announced.

    You can tell when it's closed by it all being boxed in, with a gray background, and the message "The discussion above is closed." appearing at the bottom.

  • Joining in on this effort?
  • I understand the incentives for this sort of action, but bear in mind that this sort of "going dark" is the result of a conscious decision by participants such as Wikipedia, and not a direct ramification of the actual passing of this bill. It's a peaceful protest that will probably inconvenience a lot of people, and might even gather significant publicity, but I fear is likely to only be interpreted as an attempt to manipulate the Senate to further a particular agenda, rather than awaken anyone to the real problems with the bill, simply because so few people really understand the principles that make the bill a bad idea from the outset.

    "Going dark" is much more likely to be viewed as akin to throwing a temper tantrum because one is not getting their way than it is any sort of sincere attempt to awaken anybody to the problems that this bill actually presents.... because I really can't see that it will.

  • Go Global, STOP ACTA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hemo_jr ( 1122113 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @11:34AM (#38725054)
    Many countries, including the U.S., have signed the ACTA treaty - the source and inspiration for SOPA/PIPA. So if there is a global symbol of the attempt to censor the Internet, it is the ACTA treaty. The US has already signed this and is using various, mostly economic, means to pressure other countries to sign as well. The U.S. administration needs to stop pushing ACTA on to other countries and repudiate it for the attack on freedom that it is.
  • by TraumaFox ( 1667643 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @12:06PM (#38725558)

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. When groups like Wikipedia and Google and Facebook and Twitter all go on to do this blackout thing, all arguments in favor of the people go out the window, because it becomes an industry vs industry battle. Even though we the people and the aforementioned groups are opposed to SOPA/PIPA, we are not on the same side - they have their own interests, and while some of them may or may not coincide with ours, our own interests are not being represented when they do this.

    When the blackout happens, the government will just see it as a battle between the industries, and it will render the lay peoples' arguments inaudible. If PIPA gets shut down as a reaction to Wikipedia et al, it will be seen as a victory for them, not a victory for us. We will celebrate, sure, but the government and supporters won't be any closer to understanding the part we played and how drastically it would have affected us on a fundamental level had it passed; they'll be just as tempted to introduce new legislation later on until they eventually get their way. Remember, corporations and industries aren't afraid of each other, they are afraid of informed voters.

    As for the "educational" prospect of what Wikipedia et al are doing, convincing people who don't understand what's going on into rallying against SOPA/PIPA just by shutting down important websites is not really a fair tactic, and they won't be educated so much as enraged and desperate to reach any solution that would bring it back. You could shut down Facebook and put a message on there that people need to run through the streets naked to bring it back, and the United States would become a nudist nation overnight. While education is certainly important, we need to educate each other with fair and open discussion and debate, not with scare tactics from groups which have their own separate interests in mind. That's not to say that the information Wikipedia and others will post isn't going to be accurate or true, or that the information and commercials being fed to the public by SOPA/PIPA supporters isn't a load of bunk, but all of that can be posted on these websites without actually shutting down the services - the blackouts themselves are specifically designed to elicit an emotional response, not a rational one, and that's not the kind of tactic we want to employ or endorse.

    While it's nice to have some big name support, this is our battle which we need to win on our own, and we should really encourage Wikipedia and others not to go through with this blackout plan.

  • How about slashdot? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sean ( 422 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @02:20PM (#38727362)

    Will slashdot join this protest?

  • by DanielRavenNest ( 107550 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @06:54PM (#38731248)

    The one thing more powerful for elected officials than bribes (campaign donations), is fear of losing the next election. So contact the bill sponsors, and let them know why you will be voting for/sending money to/campaigning for their opponent. Do that even if the bills die in this congressional session. They need to be spanked, hard, for ever supporting this kind of bill, so the next time big media comes around (and they will, you know they will) they will remember this is a politically life threatening topic.

    It's either that, or nuke them from orbit, it's the only ways to be sure.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun