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UPDATE: The Senate won't vote next Tuesday's on its controversial anti-piracy legislation as it hand planned.
Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Friday morning that he has postponed the vote on the upper chamber's Protect IP Act, or PIPA, indefinitely, a decision his office says was made "in light of recent events." Still, the Nevada Democrat signaled that he wasn't ready to abandon the anti-piracy push completely. "We made good progress through the discussions we've held in recent days, and I am optimistic that we can reach a compromise in the coming weeks," he said.
The decision represents, at minimum, a temporary victory for the bill's critics, which include a number of major websites that went dark earlier this week in protest of PIPA and it's sister bill in the House, SOPA, which has likewise lost traction among lawmakers.
Politico has more on the vote delay and the PIPA debate in general here.
Wednesday, Jan. 18: Looks like we're not the only ones missing Wikipedia today.
Five key senators have abandoned their support of the Senate's Protect IP Act, The Hill reports. The group in question included: Florida Republican Marco Rubio, a Tea Party favorite; Missouri Republican Roy Blunt, a member of the GOP leadership; and Texas Republican Jon Cornyn, who heads his party's Senate campaign team.
Also executing an about-face: Utah Republican Orrin Hatch and Arkansas Democrat John Boozman, who had been sponsors of the bill.
Wednesday, Jan. 18: Wikipedia, reddit, and Boing Boing are among the sites that have gone dark today to protest the controversial SOPA and PIPA anti-piracy congressional bills.
Wikipedia visitors trying to access English-language content will instead see a black screen with a short note, encouraging anti-SOPA calls to congressmen. The handful of other pages still available have to do with the blackout or with the bills themselves.
Reddit and Boing Boing have messages of their own for today's visitors. Reddit, like Wikipedia, is broadcasting a call to action today, adding that SOPA would "threaten the existence of websites with user-submitted content, such as reddit." Boing Boing's blackout note argues the bills would "unmake the Web."
Former senator and current Motion Picture Association of America CEO Chris Dodd released a statement yesterday slamming the protests, calling them an "abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today," as the Los Angeles Times reports.
Meanwhile, popular troll hangout Fark.com has gone white today in "support" of SOPA, writing "we've been bringing you the latest news happening across the Internet for 12 years, and we're tired. And SOPA/PIPA is the perfect excuse to quit."
Tuesday, Jan. 17: Twitter won't join its anti-SOPA brethren Wednesday when they go dark in opposition to a pair of controversial congressional proposals to curb online piracy.
While Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has been outspoken in his criticism of SOPA and its corresponding House legislation, PIPA, he said that temporarily shuttering the site would be a mistake. "[C]losing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish," he said in response to criticism about his company's decision to sit out the blackout. "Not shutting down a service doesn't equal not taking the proper stance on an issue. We've been very clear about our stance."
Wikipedia, Reddit and Boing Boing are among those who plan to go through with the planned blackout, a move they say will show the impact the bills would have on online companies, the Washington Post reports.
Monday, Jan. 16: It's not quite a return to card catalogs, but Googling that tidbit of information on the tip of your tongue will take a little bit longer on Wednesday: According to co-founder Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia will be dark.
Despite preparations by congressional leaders to shelve the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) indefinitely, Wikipedia will participate in a voluntary blackout for 24 hours on Wednesday, January 18 in protest of the legislation, and its sister bill, the PROTECT-IP Act (PIPA).
SOPA and PIPA, which have widespread support from the entertainment industry, essentially would allow copyright holders and the Justice Department to use court orders and lawsuits to disrupt link, credit card, and advertising traffic to sites that are deemed to be infringing on copyright or providing access to "pirated" material. Google, Facebook, and Wikipedia have all come out strongly against the bills. Critics of the bills claim that they violate the right to freedom of speech and amount to censorship.
The White House seems to agree with criticism that the bills are flawed, particularly with a provision in the bill, since pulled, that would require internet service providers to block international sites accused of piracy, as CNET reports. The White House's statement against SOPA this weekend was a boon to those against it, but not enough to prevent a blackout. Although SOPA's progress has slowed, PIPA is still slated for a vote in the Senate on January 24, the Guardian reports.
Wikipedia's blackout is similar to the planned Reddit blackout from 8 AM - 8 PM on Wednesday, which, according to Digital Trends, is still on. Answering questions on Twitter for much of the afternoon, Wales has given some more details on the Wikipedia blackout:
- The blackout will only affect the site's English version (en.wikipedia.org), although other language versions may opt to display a message or take their own action in protest of the bill. The blackout will take place globally on the English site.
- The site will display some sort of message explaining the protest, the exact wording of which is not yet determined.
- The time period for the protest is 24 hours: midnight to midnight, January 18th to 19th, EST.
- The exact nature of the blackout will be decided by the Wikipedia community, similar to the action taken by the site's Italian language community against a proposed wiretapping law in Italy.