On Wednesday, Jan. 18, you will have to live without Wikipedia. That’s right, the English version of the popular online encyclopedia is going dark for a day. But more importantly, today marks the day in which a number of technology companies from the United States will fight over a pair of internet-regulation bills.
Wikipedia, Reddit and other prominent websites and online ventures are up in arms about two bills that are relatively similar: Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP (intellectual property) Act. Both bills are meant to tackle the issue of websites from abroad that offer pirated content.
Other major players, including Microsoft, oppose SOPA but won’t shut down services.
Forbes’ Paul Tassi commends websites like Reddit for blacking out, but he argues major corporations should follow suit.
“Rather, even though Reddit is a massive site, the industry needs a nuclear option to truly decimate SOPA once and for all,” he writes. “Titans like Google and Facebook need to have a similar blackout, which would reach an audience far, far wider than Reddit’s.”
Mashable’s Chris Heald says SOPA is dangerous. “If ever a bill was spaghetti, this is it,” he wrote. “If a programmer on my team wrote code as convoluted as this bill, I would fire him on the spot.”
GoDaddy originally backed SOPA, but the company later issued an apology.
“GoDaddy opposes SOPA because the legislation has not fulfilled its basic requirement to build a consensus among stake-holders in the technology and Internet communities,” Warren Adelman, GoDaddy’s CEO, said in a statement.
Organizations like the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) have also announced their support for SOPA. Below is an excerpt of the statement the company released:
“As an industry of innovators and creators, we understand the importance of both technological innovation and content protection, and do not believe the two are mutually exclusive. Rogue websites — those singularly devoted to profiting from their blatant illegal piracy — restrict demand for legitimate video game products and services, thereby costing jobs.”
What remains to be seen is if we can all survive a day without Wikipedia’s world of information at our fingertips.