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.
For months, civil libertarians and internet freedom advocates have been fretting, with good cause, about the nominally secret multilateral negotiations on a document called ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.
Essentially, the agreement aims to take the flawed US Digital Millennium Copyright Act and export it worldwide, only favoring the copyright holders more.
Numerous leaks showed drafts that would have encouraged signatory nations, including the US, Japan and EU members, to become a sort of super-copyright police, possibly cutting off repeatedly accused pirates from the internet and searching laptops at the border for unapproved movies and music.
Among the organisations adding their tuppenceworth to the Digital Britain consultation is the Business Software Alliance, the industry body that represents software companies and tries to make sure they get paid all their licence fees.
Part of the suggestions about Digital Britain have been for there to be a clampdown on music and video piracy, especially peer to peer filesharing. The BSA wants to make sure software piracy is not forgotten.