The Wiki Blackout

Jan 18 2012 @ 8:02am

Screen shot 2012-01-18 at 2.52.25 AM

What happened:

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) are landing in the U.S. Senate next week and a whirlpool of online protest has fired up again. The two bills intend to stop online piracy and protect copyright holders, however, critics claim they infringe upon creativity, Internet security and innovation by punishing websites that link to any copyright-infringing sites, even by accident. Wikipedia and a number of major sites including Reddit, Mozilla and TwitPic will go offline on Wednesday to protest. Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales made the announcement on Twitter, joking that students should "do [their] homework early."

But there are plenty of ways to bypass the blackout:

[T]yping Wikipedia.org in a Web browser (or any of the site’s pages for that matter), and as the page loads, pressing the escape key, circumvents or stops the blackout placeholder page from appearing. Timing the maneuver exactly right, may take a few tries. The Wikipedia mobile app appears to be alive and working well too.

Madrigal has more:

Atlantic friend and contributor Philip Bump created a simple site — http://pbump.net/wiki/ — that lets you search Google's cache of Wikipedia to find recent copies of articles. Obviously, the cached versions of the millions of Wikipedia articles won't retain their full functionality, but as a temporary Wikipedia replacement, it's pretty slick.  The site [is] also a great reminder that the Internet is very good at defeating attempts to restrict information flow by anyone, even those people protesting to keep the flow unfettered.

(Above tweets via herpderpedia, which is chronicling the collective freakout. Hat tip: Ralph Bodenner)