The Wikipedia blackout is over — and you have spoken.
More than 162 million people saw our message asking if you could imagine a world without free knowledge. You said no. You shut down Congress’s switchboards. You melted their servers. From all around the world your messages dominated social media and the news. Millions of people have spoken in defense of a free and open Internet.
For us, this is not about money. It’s about knowledge. As a community of authors, editors, photographers, and programmers, we invite everyone to share and build upon our work.
Our mission is to empower and engage people to document the sum of all human knowledge, and to make it available to all humanity, in perpetuity. We care passionately about the rights of authors, because we are authors.
SOPA and PIPA are not dead: they are waiting in the shadows. What’s happened in the last 24 hours, though, is extraordinary. The internet has enabled creativity, knowledge, and innovation to shine, and as Wikipedia went dark, you’ve directed your energy to protecting it.
We’re turning the lights back on. Help us keep them shining brightly.
Results of the blackout, and looking ahead
- Was the blackout successful?
- The English Wikipedia joined thousands of other web sites in protesting SOPA and PIPA by blacking out its content for 24 hours. The purpose of the blackout was twofold: to raise public awareness, and to encourage people to share their views with their elected representatives.
- During the blackout:
- The Wikipedia page about SOPA and PIPA was accessed more than 162 million times during the 24 hour period.
- More than 12,000 people commented on the Wikimedia Foundation’s blog post announcing the blackout. A breathtaking majority supported the blackout.
- More than eight million looked up their elected representatives’ contact information via the Wikipedia tool.
- Anti-SOPA and PIPA topics began trending globally on Twitter immediately after the blackout began. Hashtags included#factswithoutwikipedia, #SOPAstrike, and #wikipediablackout. At one point, #wikipediablackout constituted 1% of all tweets, and SOPA accounted for a quarter-million tweets hourly during the blackout.
- A quick search of “SOPA blackout” on Google News yielded 9,500 links as of 13:30 Pacific time, January 19.
- Are SOPA and PIPA dead?
- Not at all. SOPA sponsor Lamar Smith stated that the House of Representatives will push the bill forward in February. Senate sponsor Patrick Leahy still plans for a PIPA vote on January 24.
- Moreover, SOPA and PIPA are symptoms of a larger issue. They are misguided solutions to a misunderstood problem. In the U.S. and abroad, legislators and big media are embracing censorship and sacrificing civil liberties in their attacks on free knowledge and an open Internet.
- What will happen next with SOPA and PIPA?
- Although support has slipped in both the Senate and the House, there is a Senate vote on PIPA scheduled for January 24, and the House will be moving forward as well. It is important to keep the pressure up on both houses. We expect changes that appear to tone down the damaging effects of the laws, without addressing their fundamental flaws.
- What should I do now?
- Keep calling your representatives! Tell them you believe in a free and open Internet!
- I live in the United States. What’s the best way for me to help?
- The most effective action you can take is to call your representatives and tell them you oppose SOPA and PIPA, and any similar legislation. Type your zipcode in the locator box to find your representatives’ contact information. Text-based communication is okay, but phone calls have the most impact.
- I don’t live in the United States. What’s the best way for me to help?
- Contact your country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs or similar government agency. Tell them you oppose SOPA and PIPA, and any similar legislation. SOPA and PIPA will affect websites outside of the United States, and even sites inside the United States (like Wikipedia) that also affect non-American readers — like you. Calling your own government will also let them know you don’t want them to create their own bad anti-Internet legislation.