Wikipedia to shut down Wednesday

Nick Sudheimer

Wikipedia will shut down Wednesday, joining several other prominent websites in a protest against SOPA, according to a report from CNET. Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, said the site will shut down for a full 24 hours.

Other sites like Reddit and I Can Has Cheezburger will also shut down.

The Stop Online Piracy Act is supported by copyright owners, like large record companies and Hollywood studios. They argue online piracy has damaged their business and cost employees their jobs. Web sites and human rights groups counter that SOPA would reduce freedom of speech on the web and damage the health of the internet.

One of the bills largest supporters, Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, removed a requirement in SOPA Friday that would have allowed the Justice Department to basically remove Web sites suspected of piracy from the internet. The move was followed by Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, removing a similar requirement in the proposed Protect IP bill (PIPA), a sister bill to SOPA in the Senate.

The shut down will only effect Wikipedia’s English version.