Wikipedia mulls blackout over piracy bill

{mosads} Websites including Tumblr, Reddit and Firefox blacked out content last month to protest the bill.

SOPA would allow the government and copyright holders to demand that search engines, Internet providers and ad networks cut ties with websites “dedicated” to copyright infringement.

Hollywood and the music industry say the measure is necessary to crackdown on online copyright infringement, but many tech companies argue the bill would impose unreasonable burdens on websites and would stifle free speech on the Internet. 

An aide to the House Judiciary Committee Republicans said SOPA is targeted only at rogue sites.

“Wikipedia is in no way covered by the bill,” the aide said in an email. “The bill only covers foreign rogue websites that are violating federal criminal law or are marketed primarily for use in offering goods or services in violation of federal law.” 

The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on the legislation on Thursday.

Wales said the blackout would be similar to when the Italian-language Wikipedia shut down in October to protest a measure pending in the Italian parliament to restrict sites’ ability to post critical information about public figures. 

That law was eventually abandoned.

Wales described SOPA as “much worse” than the Italian law. “My own view is that a community strike was very powerful and successful in Italy and could be even more powerful in this case,” he wrote.

Wales said he has not decided to hold the strike yet.

“If this poll is firmly ‘opposed’ then I’ll know that now,” Wales said. “But even if this poll is firmly in ‘support’ we’d obviously go through a much longer process to get some kind of consensus around parameters, triggers, and timing.”

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