Wikipedia Is Doing a Blackout to Protest Against SOPA/PIPA


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If you visit the English Wikipedia right now (or within some hours) you’ll probably see a lot of black. No need to panic though, it’s a schedule protest against the SOPA and PIPA bills that are being promoted in the US.

Here’s the description from their announcement:

Today, the Wikipedia community announced its decision to black out the English-language Wikipedia for 24 hours, worldwide, beginning at 05:00 UTC on Wednesday, January 18 (you can read the statement from the Wikimedia Foundation here). The blackout is a protest against proposed legislation in the United States — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate — that, if passed, would seriously damage the free and open Internet, including Wikipedia.

This will be the first time the English Wikipedia has ever staged a public protest of this nature, and it’s a decision that wasn’t lightly made. Here’s how it’s been described by the three Wikipedia administrators who formally facilitated the community’s discussion.

If I had more time available I would blackout DBT as well to support the protest. If you are planning to do it, though, make sure you do it the right way to not risk damaging your search rankings. Search Engine Land published an article explaining how to do it.

The basic idea is to return a 503, which is the error code for “temporarily unavailable.” If you simply return a 404 Google’s bots for sure won’t like it.

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11 Responses to “Wikipedia Is Doing a Blackout to Protest Against SOPA/PIPA”

  • Warren

    Heh, I had a whole list of things (5 I think) to search through wiki once it was back up. Same as above post, Had no idea how much I needed it until now. All sites should try this to raise appreciation.

  • Marc

    This protest shows how much power the internet actually has. However wordpress being down was a bit of a pain in the arse as I wanted a plugin!

    P.s Good article Daniel.

  • Dean Saliba

    I never realised how much I rely on Wiipedia when doing research for various articles. I was so pleased when the 24 hours was up! 🙂

  • Robert

    I am with wikipedia on this protest!

  • Web Marketing Tips

    They are trying to lock the air ….

  • Web Marketing Tips

    Not only wikipedia but redditt is also down with black colour.

    Lets see the impact … Daniel do you have similar plan ?

  • Mark

    SOPA and PIPA willl take us to the old ages. Web must not be censored. I am against these Bills.

    yes 503 error is fine. 404 can hurt SEO of the site.

  • Amber M.

    Here is hoping we can all make a difference! So many of us make our livelihood from the internet, and this bill passing stands to threaten that.

  • Amandah and are participating in the blackout as well. Visitors can sign the petition on

  • Basant

    Governments around the world are trying to censor internet through legislation. It’s happening in every country. Now a hot debate in India as Govt. wants Google, Twitter & FB etc to remove “some” content from their servers.

  • jorge jacobo

    I’ve seen plugins that would help,

    they will display “This site has been blocked in protest of the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) two bills which will allow the government to censor the internet.”


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