Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia and other popular websites went dark today as search engine Google blotted its logo as part of protests to stop Internet piracy legislation being considered by the US Congress.
The online encyclopedia, the tenth most popular website in the US, shut down most of its English-language services and replaced its familiar white and gray design with a black homepage featuring information about the legislation. Wikipedia was joined by Google which placed a rectangular black strip over its logo, with a message to "tell Congress please don't censor the web". On opening the Google homepage, one is greeted with the blacked out Google logo, with only a tiny portion of the blue lower bottom of the second 'g' visible. On clicking on the black tape, one is taken to a Google page with the heading 'End Piracy, not liberty.' "Fighting online piracy is important.
The most effective way to shut down pirate websites is through targeted legislation that cuts off their funding. There's no need to make American social networks, blogs and search engines censor the Internet or undermine the existing laws that have enabled the Web to thrive, creating millions of US jobs," reads Google's message. The bills -- Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), the legislation¿backed by major American media companies -- would allow the Justice Department to seek a court order requiring US search. Wikipedia is the largest Web entity to declare its intent to go dark, and joins many other websites that have already pledged to shut down for 12 to 24 hours to draw attention to legislation that they say will hasten the end of the free Internet. (more)