|Wikipedia (English-language) will be blacked out for 24 hours starting on Wednesday, January 18th|
Even so, the collaborative on-line encyclopedia project remains very useful for quick info on the fly, a place to get a basic sense of a topic area, and a nice starting off point for sparking connections and ideas you had maybe not thought of. Bottom line, anyone in academia would be lying if they said they didn't use it.
|**updated**This a screen-grab of the Wikipedia site as it appeared at midnight EST|
on Wednesday, January 18th.
In a statement posted on their website, Wikipedia announced that as an act of protest against SOPA, it will black out the English-language version of their website for 24-hours on Wednesday, January 18th. At the same time, Wikipedia outlined the importance of maintaining a framework for open access and collaboration to maintain its existence:
"We depend on a legal infrastructure that makes it possible for us to operate. And we depend on a legal infrastructure that also allows other sites to host user-contributed material, both information and expression. For the most part, Wikimedia projects are organizing and summarizing and collecting the world’s knowledge. We’re putting it in context, and showing people how to make to sense of it.
But that knowledge has to be published somewhere for anyone to find and use it. Where it can be censored without due process, it hurts the speaker, the public, and Wikimedia. Where you can only speak if you have sufficient resources to fight legal challenges, or if your views are pre-approved by someone who does, the same narrow set of ideas already popular will continue to be all anyone has meaningful access to."
The public needs to debate these issues, and I think Wikipedia is taking a bold move to raise awareness about the ramifications of policing the Internet to such a high degree. I am also interested to see how everyday people are impacted without access to Wikipedia for a day. Could turn out to be the bigger story!