Wikipedia will blackout the English language version of its website on Wednesday for 24 hours to protest anti-piracy legislation being considered in Congress.
The Wikimedia Foundation, the force behind the popular community-based online encyclopedia, released a a statement Monday night about the planned blackout. The company, along with others including Twitpic and Wordpress will blackout to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act, as well as the proposed Protect Intellectual Property Act, according to the Associated Press.
Critics claim the legislation could infringe on free-speech rights as well as weaken cyber-security for companies and hinder rights to domain access.
Tuesday afternoon, US Senator Scott Brown joined more than a dozen other legislators in announcing that he will vote 'no' on both the Stop Online Piracy and the Protect Intellectual Property bills.
"If passed, this legislation will harm the free and open Internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States," the Wikimedia foundation said.
The Stop Online Piracy Act in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Protect Intellectual Property Act under consideration in the Senate are designed to crack down on sales of pirated U.S. products overseas.
Supporters include the film and music industry, which often sees its products sold illegally. They say the legislation is needed to protect intellectual property and jobs.
The most controversial provision is in the House bill, which would have enabled federal authorities to "blacklist" sites that are alleged to distribute pirated content. That would essentially cut off portions of the Internet to all U.S. users. But congressional leaders appear to be backing off this provision.
Read the text of the bill: Stop Online Piracy Act here.
Read the text of the bill: Protect Intellectual Property Act here.