Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia will shut down for 24 hours on Wednesday, Jan 18, said Wikipedia co-founder, Jimmy Wales on Monday, Jan 16.
According to Wales, the step comes after Wikipedia decided to protest against the anti-piracy bill that is currently under debate in the US senate. [UPDATE: Blackout: Google too joins Wikipedia but why?]
"Student warning! Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday," Wales said on his Twitter page.
"I am just starting to do press interviews about the upcoming blackout of Wikipedia...This is going to be wow. I hope Wikipedia will melt phone systems in Washington on Wednesday. Tell everyone you know," he wrote.
He further said that the visitors would see a message flashing across the website that the website has been closed for 24 hours in a bid to show their protest against the anti-piracy laws called Protect IP Act (PIPA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
SOPA has largely been an issue of debate in the US for the last few months, while Motion Picture Association of America say laws like SOPA, which has provisions like blocking websites at DNS level, is the dire need of the hour to fight piracy. And web giants like Google and Facebook are of the opinion that SOPA will choke innovation and affect freedom of speech.
According to ComScore, the English website of Wikipedia gets around 25 million visitors everyday.
Wikipedia will join the league with Reddit, BoingBoing, Cheezburger network, Craiglist, Mozilla, Minecraft including several other websites related to video games on Jan 18, for the shut down. Reports also reveal that Facebook and Google may also join the trail.
"Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small...We must avoid creating new cybersecurity risks or disrupting the underlying architecture of the Internet," said a note prepared by three senior officers on the provisions of SOPA.
"Our analysis of the DNS filtering provisions in some proposed legislation suggests that they pose a real risk to cybersecurity and yet leave contraband goods and services accessible online," said the note.
"SOPA is crippled now. PIPA is still extremely dangerous," wrote Wales on Twitter.