Entries in Wikipedia (4)


Websites Back to Normal After 'Censorship' Protest; What's Next?

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- After protesting two online censorship bills by shutting its website down, Wikipedia‘s English-language page came back to normal on Thursday, and Google removed the black censor bar from across its brightly colored logo.

Many supporters of Wednesday’s online protest against SOPA and PIPA -- the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and the Protect IP Act in the Senate -- say it was effective. Moreover, at least a dozen senators who supported the bill, according to various head counts, have now publicly backed off.

“We can find a solution that will protect lawful content. But this bill is flawed & that’s why I’m withdrawing my support,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a former PIPA co-sponsor, on Twitter Wednesday.

“Protecting IP is important, but we need to carefully tailor the solution,” tweeted Sen. Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat. “#PIPA and #SOPA don’t cut it.”

The White House said that as of late Wednesday, 104,000 people had signed “We the People petitions asking the Obama Administration to protect an open and innovative internet.”

Jimmy Wales, the head of Wikipedia, said 162 million people clicked on his site’s message opposing the bills.

“Now 35 Senators publicly opposing #PIPA, up from 5 last week! 41 no votes and we win,” Wales tweeted Thursday.

So are the bills dead?  In their existing forms they were already in trouble.  The House version had been put on hold by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) even before Wednesday’s protest.  And in the Senate, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), an original co-sponsor, had last week promised amendments to address the concerns of website managers.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the most public advocates of the two anti-piracy bills, said it sent a letter to members of Congress, standing by its original position but noting that the bills were being reworked.

“[T]he Chamber urges the full Senate to fully debate and pass this important measure,” said the Chamber. “Recent announcements by sponsors of the legislation have made clear that important issues of internet operation, security, and freedom will be addressed by a manager’s amendment, which will modify provisions of S. 968 dealing with blocking of rogue sites. The amended legislation is a more narrowly tailored approach designed to target the worst offenders.”

Michael Gartenberg of Gartner technology consultants said in a phone interview with ABC News that Wednesday’s protest alone may not have tipped the balance, but, “it raised awareness of an important issue.

“This isn’t a matter of right versus wrong, left versus right, good versus evil,” he said. “It’s a complex issue with a lot of nuance.  But it took it out of the arena of politicians and technologists and brought it to the public’s attention.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Wikipedia, Other Sites Shut Down to Protest 'Censorship' Legislation

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The English-language version of Wikipedia went dark Wednesday, along with hundreds of other sites including Reddit and Boing Boing, to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) proposed by congressional lawmakers and supported by Hollywood to block the sale of counterfeit goods by websites outside the U.S.

Wikipedia, as well as search engine site Google and social networking site Facebook, argue that the legislation encourages censorship and will alter the structure of the Internet. Google was operating, though its iconic logo was shown as blacked out Wednesday, as if it had been redacted.

The co-founder of the online encyclopedia giant, Jimmy Wales, defended the decision to close down Wikipedia for 24 hours, charging that SOPA and PIPA, "endanger free speech both in the United States and abroad, and set a frightening precedent of Internet censorship for the world."

The White House is also opposed to the anti-piracy measures before Congress.

Texas Republican Congressman Lamar Smith, who sponsored SOPA in the House, chastised Wikipedia for what he says amounts to a publicity stunt, adding, "it is ironic that a website dedicated to providing information is spreading misinformation about the Stop Online Piracy Act."

According to Smith, Wikipedia, social networking sites and domestic blogs won't be affected by his legislation.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Wikipedia Blackout: Websites Going Dark to Protest SOPA, PIPA

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Online encyclopedia giant Wikipedia will go dark for the day on Wednesday, joining a budding movement to protest two bills in Congress -- SOPA and PIPA -- meant to stop the illegal copying and sharing of movies and music on the Internet.

"This is going to be 'wow,'" Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said on Twitter. "I hope Wikipedia will melt phone systems in Washington on Wednesday. Tell everyone you know!"

Other sites, such as Reddit and Boing Boing, have already said they would also go dark on Wednesday.  And some of the biggest names online, including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, have vocally opposed the proposed legislation.

PIPA, the Protect IP Act in the Senate, and SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, have been presented as a way to protect movie studios, record labels and others.  Supporters range from the Country Music Association to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

But the Internet giants say the bills could require your Internet provider to block websites that are involved in digital file sharing.  And search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing could be stopped from linking to them -- antithetical, they say, to the ideal of an open Internet.

"If you want an Internet where human rights, free speech and the rule of law are not subordinated to the entertainment industry's profits, I hope you'll join us," said Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing.

Wikipedia, the sixth most visited site in the world, said its English version will be dark for 24 hours Wednesday, urging users to contact Congress.  Other joiners of the movement include Mozilla, which offers the Firefox Web browser; the Wordpress blogging site; and TwitPic, which allows Twitter users to post images online.

The House bill is on hold for now, and there are rumblings that both bills may be toned down because of the vocal opposition.  The White House over the weekend said it had reservations about the approach the two bills take.

"While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet," wrote three White House managers, including Aneesh Chopra, the U.S. Chief Technology Officer.  "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."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Wikipedia Marks 10 Years, Opens First Office in India

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- In 2001, Jimmy Wales wrote "hello world," in his first of many edits to an online encyclopedia site. And 10 years later, the world has said a big hello back. This weekend, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia marked its 10th birthday and on Monday the San Francisco-based site opened its first overseas office in India.

Wikipedia is the fifth most-visited website, claiming over 400 million unique visits per month. More than 13.5 million registered users have contributed a staggering 438,660,528 edits in the last decade. The site's 3.5 million articles are primarily maintained by 15,000 reliable editors who contribute at least 100 times per month.

Editors are unpaid volunteers; the site takes no advertising and is operated by the non-profit Wikimedia. The site operated on $8 million in 2010 and raised over $16 million in its most recent fundraising campaign.

Over the last decade, the site has not been without financial woes and Wales often writes personal letters for donations on the homepage to the Wikipedia community.

Currently, the free website is available in over 270 languages and the new Bangalore office hopes to add at least 20 additional Indian languages.

In an interview with The Press Trust of India, Sue Gardner, chief of Wikimedia, said India was chosen because its "fruitful environment [including] valuing education, free speech and a culture of intellectual debate."

Gardner added that Wikipedia plans to make a push in Brazil, then to the Middle East and Africa to reach editors from different backgrounds.

The average Wikipedia user in 2011 is an educated, 20-something male, but Gardner expects that profile will look much different in 2021.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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