pipa

Aaron Swartz, a computer programmer and ardent internet activist who played a key role opposing 2011 anti-piracy legislation, was found dead on Friday at age 26.

His family confirmed that he hanged himself in his apartment in Brooklyn, New York.

Friends and fans of Mr Swartz’ work flooded social media feeds and web sites over the weekend with grief-stricken tributes to a coder they considered a “genius” and a “hero”. Many offered lengthy defences of his activist work to make legal and academic documents available for free online – work that garnered the attention of government prosecutors and led to criminal charges still outstanding at the time of his death. 

Wikipedia confirmed that it would black out all English language versions of its website around the globe this Wednesday, in opposition to two proposed anti-piracy laws in the US.

More than 1800 “Wikipedians” discussed various protest actions they could take to stall the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), and late on Monday, settled on the 24-hour blackout, to begin at 5 a.m. UTC/GMT on Wednesday.

Wikipedia users will not be able to read or edit English pages, though articles about SOPA and PIPA will remain accessible to readers. 

Tim Bradshaw

Wikipedia is planning an online “blackout” on Wednesday, in protest against proposed US legislation intended to stem web piracy.