Wikipedia SOPA protest: Site will shut down for 24 hours

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SOPA.jpgWe hope none of you have term papers due on Thursday. Wikipedia will be shutting down for 24 hours on Wednesday (Jan. 18) to protest the "Stop Online Piracy Act" or SOPA. If you want to look up dirt on Hollywood stars or indulge your curiosity about weird spiders or the longest bridge in America, you'd better do it before the end of the day.

According to The Wrap, Wikipedia will be joined by other companies like Reddit and Mozilla that are taking similar measures against the proposed legislation, as reported earlier. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales took to Twitter to announce the decision, saying, "Student warning! Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday! #sopa"

Wikipedia's English language site gets an average of 25 million daily visitors. In place of the usual Wikipedia page, users will see instructions for how to reach local members of Congress, which Wales says he hopes "will melt phone systems in Washington."

For some info on what SOPA is, check out an excerpt from our earlier article. And good luck, students!

In case you don't know what SOPA is, here's the deal. Also known as H.R.3261, is a bill that was introduced in the House of Representatives last fall by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and a bipartisan group of 12 initial co-sponsors.

The bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice as well as copyright holders to seek court orders against sites accused of copyright infringement or even enabling it. Depending on the circumstances, it could block the use of PayPal on the site, disallow sites like Google or Bing from listing a site or force them to block it entirely. The bill would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a felony.
Photo/Video credit: Wikipedia