Internet users hoping to settle a debate, get a primer for a research paper or fill in knowledge gaps had better do it quickly. Wikipedia, the popular user-written free Internet encyclopedia, will blackout its site for 24 hours starting at 05:00 UTC Wednesday in protest of pending US anti-piracy legislation, which it says will impinge on Internet freedom.
Wikipedia says the legislation, called the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the US House of Representatives and Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the US Senate, "will harm the free and open Internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States."
The decision to blackout the website in protest for a day emerged from online discussions including over 1800 "Wikipedians," active members in Wikipedia's online community.
The legislation, which had appeared to be on a fast track for approval by Congress, appears likely to be scaled back or jettisoned entirely in the wake of critical comments over the weekend from the White House, people familiar with the matter said.
Reuters contributed to this report.