Wikipedia to shut down for 24 hours

17 January 2012

On Wednesday US time (so approximately Thursday our time), the English language Wikipedia will shut down for 24 hours in protest against the proposed SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) in the US. Other language versions should stay available.

For some background on SOPA, read Stanford Law Review Online's Don't Break the Internet, and Eric Hellman's Foreign Libraries Will Be Infringing Sites Under SOPA (which points out that this means, among other things, that US-based search engines such as... well, most of them... could be forced to remove said libraries from their search results).

Another proposed US act, the Research Works Act, would make open access mandates like the NIH mandate illegal - meaning more research would be locked behind publisher paywalls instead of being in institutional or subject discipline repositories. There's a thorough roundup of blogposts on this, including discussions of which publishers are behind it and supporting it, and what researchers can do about it.

Deborah Fitchett Liaison Librarian