back to article Jimbo Wales ponders Wikipedia blackout

Wikipedia founder Jimbo Wales is contemplating taking "the encyclopedia anyone can edit" down – temporarily – in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) currently wending its way through Congress. But first he wants to hear your opinion. "My own view is that a community strike was very powerful and successful in Italy …


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  1. The BigYin

    The fools

    They should have done an ACTA. Had it all agreed behind closed doors, then signed into law before the people have a chance. That is democracy.

    Open debate and consensus is, well, communism. And better dead than red!

    So bend over and take it for freedom!

    Oh, I don't mean your freedom. Not personal freedom. Corporate freedom! That's the freedom that counts. We should do away with this silly idea of people voting, shares should vote. Whoever has the most shares basically calls all the shots.

    It'd at least be a bit more honest than the farce we endure now.

    1. Turtle

      Clueless as usual.

      You are clueless. And by "clueless" I mean not just clueless but pathologically so.

      Here is a quote from one of the links in the article: "The battle has pitted huge content generators like Disney and the motion picture industry against their online competitors, with each side reportedly spending some $90 million on lobbying efforts." That $90 million spent against SOPA did not come from migrant workers, if you didn't know. And note that the "competitors" include any number of tech companies, ISPs, Google and AOL - hardly the "99%".

      And if your idea of "freedom" requires people having their work appropriated by anyone who wants to do so, in order to draw traffic to a website so as to run ads supplied by huge corporations like Google, thereby reducing the value of the stolen work to pretty nearly zero, then do us all a favor and find a different definition of freedom, preferably one in which *you yourself* are deprived of a livelihood, as opposed to other people.

      The person here who is supporting "corporate freedom" - the "corporate freedom" of Google, AOL et al, is. . . you. (And, by the way, it's nice to see that your main principle is still intact and operational: support Google no matter what.)

      1. The BigYin


        Is everything black-and-white in your world? One is anti-SOPA so one must be pro-Google?

        Do you think by being anti-SOPA, I am pro the BBC's actions on orphaned works?

        Or that by objecting to Israeli policy I think the Palestinians are a swell bunch of guys who would like flower arranging?

        Here is a clue: the world is not black-and-white and SOPA goes way, way too far.

      2. Chris 3

        So to be clear

        You're a big supporter of SOPA?

      3. Graham Marsden


        Would you like to buy a new Irony Detector? Yours seems to be broken.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          I believe a certain lady named Alanis has one for sale.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        In my experience

        Corporate theft of intellectual property vastly outweighs any other form in terms

        of dollar value. None of the ideas that the Internet operates on, from IP to search

        engines, were invented by corporations, but who profits?


        (anonymous 'cause I dig the masque)

    2. TimeMaster T

      A tactical move?

      Have a small part of your forces move without trying to hide, being really obvious in fact, and expect them to be countered while the main, and far deadlier, force moves in secret to the target by another route.

      SOPA may just be the diversion, full of sound and fury, but intended to fail while something else much worse follows the ACTA route. Another advantage of this tactic is that if something of the dangerous bill does leak out it will be discounted as an anti-COPA rumor by someone trying to stir up some FUD about COPA.

      The one with the anti-paranoia meds in the pocket please.

      Of course, its only paranoia if someone isn't out to get you.

    3. Local Group

      "The farce we endure now"

      That farce has been running longer than "The Mousetrap."

      It's a lot like The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Everybody in the audience knows all the lines and says them along with the current players.

  2. David Webb

    This the same wikipedia who ignores other countries copyright laws and places them under US law? Sod em.

    1. Nihiltres

      That's slightly inaccurate. You're talking, if I understand correctly, about the case of Derrick Coetzee copying the high-res. images from the U.K. National Portrait Gallery to Wikimedia Commons. In the U.S., it's been established (in Bridgeman v. Corel) that faithful reproductions of public-domain works (like the images of the NPG portraits) are themselves in the public domain. In the U.K., the reverse isn't true—rather, there hasn't been a case testing the legal theory. In this case, Derrick Coetzee and Wikimedia are asserting an opinion on the law, i.e. that reproductions of public-domain works should be considered public domain under U.K. law. Ironically, this is helped by the U.S. Bridgeman v. Corel case, since that case took U.K. law into consideration in its decision. Why not look it up on Wikipedia?

      (Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.)

      1. Steve Ives
        Paris Hilton

        "In this case, Derrick Coetzee and Wikimedia are asserting an opinion on the law, i.e. that reproductions of public-domain works should be considered public domain under U.K. law"

        So you're excusing it on the grounds that it's legal in the US and the perpetrators think it should be legal in the UK too, so that makes it OK?


        Paris, 'cos even she wouldn't think of a justification so weak.

        1. ThomH Silver badge

          @Steve Ives

          It sounds to me like he's excusing it on the grounds that a court in the US found it legal after a discussion of US and UK law, and the UK courts have yet to express an opinion. So 'should be legal' is accurate only in the sense that they think it probably is legal but there's no direct authority. It would be inaccurate if you meant 'should' as in isn't but should be.

          See e.g. Shuey v US for an occasion where not only has a US court considered an issue of common law that's equally applicable in the UK and US first (contract in that case, but whatever), but has done so sufficiently convincingly that it's often cited here in the UK with a similar authority to genuine legal precedent.

          1. Is it me?

            Professional phorographers copyright their images, if the NPG owned the image copyright then that copyright has been breached.

            If however they had taken the images themselves, no problem, although you can't actually take photograpghs inside the NPG, or for that matter any art gallery, so far as I remember.

            1. Alan Firminger

              No they don't

              Copyright exists as soon as a work is generated. No-one can copyright their work, there is no authority.

              Copyright can be transferred. The copyright label tells you who claims to own the right, so a thief has no excuse.

              But critical for any legal action is the measurement of loss. If something is freely available what is lost if it is duplicated for more public benefit ? The answer might be traffic.

              1. Jim Morrow
                Paris Hilton

                copyright violation is NOT theft

                > The copyright label tells you who claims to own the right, so a thief has no excuse.

                wrong! totally wrong. copyright violation is not theft, despite what satan's little helpers in hollywood say at the start of their dvds. the copyright holder still has their property (the copyright) after someone makes an unauthorised distribution of the copyrighted work. this is usually illegal - it depends on the local laws - and/or a matter for the civil courts.

                theft means removal or denial of access to property that someone else owns without their consent.

                a copyright label tells you who owns that right and who might sue or prosecute you if you violate their copyright. so you have no excuse if you do distribute or copy that material without the permission of the rights holder.

                paris icon because she knows how to protect her assets when she makes them available.

      2. John Lilburne

        Well then ...

        ... instead of thieving the file, do as Corel did and make a copy of the image. The thief Coetzee didn't copy the image he filtched the exact digital representation as made by the NPG.

        1. Nihiltres

          @John Lilburne

          "... instead of thieving the file, do as Corel did and make a copy of the image. The thief Coetzee didn't copy the image he filtched the exact digital representation as made by the NPG."

          The NPG controls the physical portraits, and doesn't allow photography, so taking new photos is not an available option. In any event, you've missed my point, because the "exact digital representation" is public domain under U.S. law (where Coetzee is based) and probably also under U.K. law, so it can't be "thieved" or "filtched" [sic]: it's free to take in the first place.

          I think it's worthwhile to consider in this case the intent of copyright. Copyright was originally intended to promote creativity by rewarding the creative with sole rights to their creation, for a fairly short period after which the creation would pass into the public domain. If faithful reproductions of public domain works were not themselves in the public domain, all someone would need to do to have *permanent copyright* would be to exert complete control over the original (as the NPG does), and then switch out the available image with an infinitesimally different one every X years, where X is the duration of the copyright on that image.

          Would you support indefinite copyright?

          1. John Lilburne

            Citation needed

            "because the "exact digital representation" is public domain under U.S. law"

            You'll be able to show case law for that then! Corel didn't steal image files they scanned slides. They at least employed a degree of skill in colour matching the results. Doetzee just acted like a thief in the night.

            The image is PD you can go down to your library, find them in a book and scan them, no problems. Thieving some else's work is not on, but I don't suppose you'd understand that.

      3. David Webb

        Actually I was being general. Record an episode of Neighbours and stick it on the internet and it's copyright theft, take a photo of an episode of Neighbours and stick it on Wikipedia and claim "fair use".

        They stick US based "fair use" policy on any image they desire. They do not respect international copyright laws, they ignore them, stick them on servers in the US and claim it's protected under US laws, so I stand by my initial statement, sod em.

        1. Grease Monkey

          "They do not respect international copyright laws, they ignore them, stick them on servers in the US and claim it's protected under US laws, so I stand by my initial statement, sod em."

          Sod em indeed. The internet is a test for law and in particular copyright law, however claiming that only US law should apply to a website hosted in the US is simply not good enough. If only US law applies to Wikipedia then only English law should apply to McKinnon. In that particular discussion I come down against Wikipedia. They publish worldwide and therefore should have to consider the legal implications of their publishing work in every country.

          It's not just Wikipedia either. Take text which may be out of copyright in the US but not in other parts of the world. If a US based site allows you to download to the UK the text of a book which is out of copyright in the US but not the UK then they have published that work in the UK and should pay royalties.

          The interesting thing is that the US legal system is right with me on this up to a point. Do something on a site outside the US that they don't like and allow punters in the US to access that site then you could find a US court will find against you even though you've never stepped inside that country. If you should then be foolish enough to step inside the US at a later date you could find yourself being arrested or with hefty and ridiculous damages to pay. If the US believe that their jurisdiction covers the whole of the internet then they need to accept that every other country's jurisdiction extends to cover websites in the US that encourage users outside the US to access them.

          Finally are we sure that all of Wikipedia's servers reside on US soil?

    2. Anon E Mus

      Good on em

      They're only one country away from escaping that piece of pointlessness!

  3. heyrick Silver badge

    ALL of Wiki, or only to US IP addresses?

    Two thoughts:

    1. Jimmy is mistaken if he thinks an action on a global resource against an American law is going to sit well with the rest of the world. He's also suggested he cannot see beyond the American border...

    2. So what is this? "Screw impartiality when I say so"? I thought being impartial was an important part of the wiki ideal... What next, picking sides on the election debate?

    I can see what he is getting at, but to use Wikipedia as his weapon of choice is every kind of wrong (though on the plus side, for a little while two-bit hacks will have to do some actual research).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "Jimmy is mistaken if he thinks an action on a global resource against an American law is going to sit well with the rest of the world."

      *You're* mistaken if you think an American Internet law isn't going to palpably impact the rest of the world.

      1. 5.antiago

        Unintended consequences

        "*You're* mistaken if you think an American Internet law isn't going to palpably impact the rest of the world."

        RE this point, if the US brought in too many draconian internet laws, won't it just push internet activity away from the US? (This is a slight repurposing of the old "if you tax the rich too much they'll just move somewhere else" argument). US companies affected which can't move away from the negative effects of any extra laws might become uncompetitive on the global stage. Non-US populations that are affected might start spending some of their own tax dollars on internet infrastructure independent of US control.

        Perhaps if the US presses too much on internet freedoms, we might see a flowering of the "independent internet" in other areas? And this may actually benefit us in the UK?

    2. Martijn Bakker

      Wikipedia as his weapon of choice

      SOPA is a big problem for Wikipedia. They don't have many professional editors. As such, it is impossible for Wikipedia to verify quality and legality of all edits. Currently, editors are (rightly or wrongly) accused of plagiarism on a regular basis.

      Under the previous DMCA safe harbor rules, they could be requested to remove an article which some party deemed to infringe on existing copyrights. There would be time to assess the validity of a claim and an opportunity to remove the possibly infringing article without legal consequences to Wikipedia.

      Under SOPA, Wikipedia would be liable for mistakes by it's editors even if these happened without Wikipeda's knowledge. Furthermore, SOPA allows for seizure of domain names and possibly other assets without first establishing the merits of an accusation of infringement in a trial. The actions of any one editor could expose Wikipedia to risk of having their domain names and property seized. It would make the existance of Wikipedia in the US nearly impossible.

      Impartiality? Really? This law is an direct attack on YouTube, Wikipedia and any other site relying on user generated content. You can't be impartial if you're the one under attack. You're kind of party to the conflict by definition.

      1. John Lilburne

        The problem is that Godwin's advice ...

        ... that if you stuck your head in the sand you'd be OK has been found erroneous. WMF's policy has been that no one at WMF was responsible for whatever some 15 yo did on the site. They don't mind cashing the donations and paying themselves but basically they aren't responsible for anything that happens, no way no how.

        Godwin's policy of hiding behind the sofa, or looking shifty and saying not me Gov, was never going to fly long term.

      2. Kristian Walsh

        User "generated" content?

        My, those YouTube posters can produce some pretty fine Anime, and their Japanese is top notch. Every bit as good as the stuff you see on TV.

        Also, I saw an amateur dramatic reconstruction of the entirety Star Trek up there recently - they had everything done so accurately, even down to recreating the start and end credits. Okay, it was obviously user-generated, because it was on YouTube, but really, it was so convincing you'd hardly need to buy that box-set at all..

        A site that gives an outlet to people who can do this quality of work needs to be looked after.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Idiot alert

        "This law is an direct attack on YouTube"

        No, it's a direct attack on The Pirate Bay.

        Eric, Larry and Sergey have done very nicely with 8 private jets between them, getting rich off other people who do the hard work, and who create the demand for their advertising service. That's all Google is.

        You're very welcome to your YouTube where Charlie Bit My Finger is the best thing on it. Nobody would pay for an internet with just user generated content. Not even you.

  4. John F***ing Stepp


    What I always say.

    Jump! Jump!


    There is only one chance in six that the chamber is loaded; risk it.

    1. The First Dave Silver badge

      I don't care what the reason is, if it means a blackout of Wikipedia then I am all for it.

  5. Notas Badoff

    Ex post facto?

    Last I saw, most were waiting for either a concrete legal opinion demonstrating the direct risk to WP, or were advocating for waiting until SOPA passed, was implemented, directly affected them, and to then show the black screen of censorship.

    If one says "but this is obviously bad legislation" then there are always the apologists who will say "no it isn't" or "it's not finished!" or "it'll be clearer in revisions later". Like a lot of our legal morass, it is easier to show actual damages done than prospective damages.

    So likely will wait until the legislators have produced bad copy and watch them scramble to edit it back towards sanity. (Have the people who criticise WP articles looked at the crap that is called legislation? Talk about unreliable!)

    (Classic: in order to facilitate anonymous reporting of animal abuse, one legislature tried to codify that no tipsters would be ratted out - anonymity would be guaranteed! Only, as *written*, the law granted anonymity to everyone involved in a case, including the horse beaters, dog fighters, cockfighters, etc.)

  6. Shannon Jacobs

    Free speech = money and ONLY money

    To me, the hilarious part is that the original idea of copyright was to ENCOURAGE creativity, not to maximize profits by nuking any form of derivative idea. I certainly agree that creative artists deserve compensation, but at the same time it is clear that copyright is no longer a plausible mechanism because there is no longer any bottleneck at the point of reproduction.

    Perhaps the real problem is that English is hopeless confused about "free". Free speech is confused with free beer, but the most important sense of free is "meaningful and unconstrained choice." If you're paying attention, you may notice the fundamental inconsistency with advertising, where the entire idea is to confuse the meaning and convince the suckers that they can't live without this brand of toothpaste (or politician).

    1. Ben Liddicott

      Advertising is speech

      It is the shareholders of the Coca-Cola Schweppes company telling you they think you will like their product, because all the cool kids do.

      Of course it is not speech you like, so obviously it doesn't count in your book.

      I also like the way you slipped "meaningful" in there as a modifier on "unconstrained choice". We meaning is good, choice is good, meaningful choice must be better, right?

      Presumably this is because choices you don't like are not "meaningful" enough for you.

      Just give me choice and I will make my own meaning, thanks.

      1. John Brookes

        I read 'meaningful' as....

        not Hobson's choice, not punch-in-the-face-or-kick-in-the-swingers type choice etc... A choice between options that have real (meaningful) differences in outcome. Esp. as it wasn't given as a modifier at all, but rather as an additional, orthogonal property of the choice.

  7. Grumpy Fellow

    Go for it

    I would back a permanent blackout of Wikipedia to US IP addresses. It would be interesting to see what evolves in a US-only Internet where content corporations rule. We would still have the Internet to use for shopping and for reading carefully regulated non-infringing official news releases, of course. There will probably even be a US only replacement for Wikipedia that will give more balanced coverage of international topics such as censorship in China. I do love new clothes.

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge

      Wikipedia (US)

      Funded by Fox News, all the news that's right for you.

      1. Is it me?

        Yeah Right

        But do Americans really deserve that, Tea Party excluded.

  8. JDX Gold badge

    The same Jimbo who is begging for my money?

    Every wiki page has big fat begging ads right now... so their plan is to take donations and then take the site down fora bit? I hope all those who donated will be allowed special access.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not on *my* Wiki there isn't

      because I'm a big thieving bastard who uses AdBlock Plus.

  9. poohbear


    The US Gov is renown for sneaking unplatable legislation through at this time of year, when many legislators have already departed for sunnier climes than Washington.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Dumb move...

    Not even getting into the discussion itself but I wonder: why do bystanders always have to suffer from the ideas or morals of others, even when they have absolutely nothing to do with it ?

    Public transportation employee's think they don't earn enough; lets strike. How the public should get to work is their problem. Truck drivers? Lets go over the highway at an incredible slow speed and block whatever we can. How the rest of the public needs to cope with a massive delay is of course not their concern.

    Same (IMO /very/ stupid and narrow minded) issue applies here.

    The only people who will "suffer" are the people using Wikipedia on a frequent basis.

    Could be fun if you believed in the project enough to donate quite a few dollars only to have it turned off in your face. That would be an epic fail in my book.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ShelLuser - Quick this man should have a newspaper column

      A by location summary of the state of play today:

      In the US Constitution 1787: Right to freedom of speech, right of freedom of assembly, right of freedom of association.

      In the UK (and EU) 1950: European Human rights act: rights to freedom of expression, rights of freedom of assembly.

      In both US and Europe the rights should be balanced with public safety and order.

      However there are no clauses to:

      - prevent inconvenience to other parties.

      - prevent another party being made to feel peeved.

      - prevent another party having to suffer the ideas or morals of others (i.e. have to consider someone elses opinion).

      I know - shocking isn't it. The idea that people can protest about things and other people may have to take notice. What is the world coming to.

      We must stop this madness now!

      I can feel a Daily Mail campaign coming on.

    2. ScottAS2

      Smart move...

      That is the point. The bystanders need to suffer in the short term to make them sit up and take notice and hopefully put pressure on those who can solve the problem the protestors are having - usually politicians.

      For that matter, in all the examples you give, in the long run the "bystanders" could quite likely have everything to do with things - commuters getting poor service from under-paid employees, consumers having to pay more for goods because fuel for lorries is so expensive, and Wikipedia users not having Wikipedia at all because it got SOPA-ed. Granted, you could debate whether the consequences would be that severe, but when you do - as the protestors do - the protest is entirely defensible.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Bystanders sitting up and taking notice?

        All you'll really get is "f**king Wikipedia" and then a Google search for the topic at hand somewhere else. There's a lot of hot air on the internet, plenty of viable ways to fix the world, and many more crazy ways to break it further. But the funny thing is, if it means getting up off their fat asses, suddenly enthusiasm evaporates and other stuff looks like being more fun.

        Remember this when you see protests on TV. Some big march, ten thousand turned up. Not bad, but if that latest bit of halfwit legislation affects two million workers, that means a massive 0.5% bothered to do something about it. The rest just moan on social networking sites...

  11. Annihilator

    Good luck

    I recall a similar Digital Economy Act getting rammed through our parliament on a fast track...

    I don't think turning Wikipedia off for a day is going to make much of a difference. You're not going to change any minds with that action: those supporting the act will think "tch, free-loving hippies" and strengthen their resolve, those against it will think "yeah, stick it to 'em Jimbo" but still be mildly irritated at the outage.

    The rest of the population with no strong opinion will probably sway to the "free-loving hippies" response due to their annoyance.

    Doesn't seem to be any winning outcome, except for the scientific/education community who will rejoice as their students will have to do research the hard way...

    1. Daniel B.

      Wrong site to darken

      However, if YouTube were to pull something like that... BOOM. I'd like Google to shut down YouTube and put up a banner saying "closed until SOPA is voted down. If SOPA passes, this closure will be PERMANENT. Call your representative NOW!"

      The sheeple might live without Wikipedia, but you'll have to pry their lolcat videos out of their cold, dead hands!

      1. Grease Monkey

        "The sheeple might live without Wikipedia, but you'll have to pry their lolcat videos out of their cold, dead hands!"

        You think? Google are well aware that there are other freevideo hosting sites on the net and they know that if they shut down it wouldn't take long for people to move over to those sites. And you've already stated why this would happen, because people wouldn't be able to do without their lolcatz videos for more than a day.

  12. Kristian Walsh

    Anyone can edit, but only Jimbo can grant access... wtf?

    So, if I've contributed articles to Wikipedia, some guy gets to decide whether or not they can be read, depending on whether or not he has a beef about a policy of a particular government.

    That's freedom. Or petulance.

    Wikipedia could disappear tomorrow and it'd make no real difference to the world. By its own rules, it contains no original works - it's basically a short-cut for information already stored elsewhere on the net.

    And as for the Google "protest", I can't be the only one who winces at their cack-handed elevation of the "right" to copy stuff without paying to the same level as the rights of freedom to work, and freedom from physical harm or discrimination, sexual equality and expression of gender identity. "One of these things", as the song goes, "is different..."

    I'm willing to bet that only one of the topics in question is really part of the hallowed "Google ideals".

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge

      RE: Anyone can edit, but only Jimbo can grant access... wtf?

      So, if I've contributed articles to Wikipedia, some guy gets to decide whether or not they can be read, depending on whether or not he has a beef about a policy of a particular government.

      No, wrong, but thanks for playing.

      This is a *DISCUSSION* on weather or not to take the proposed action. If you can gather enough support then the close down will not happen.

      Any way this will only be for a day if it does happen if you really want something to complain about, go and find out the opening hours of your locale library, if you still have one that is.

      1. Kristian Walsh

        "This is a *DISCUSSION* on whether or not to take the proposed action. If you can gather enough support then the close down will not happen."

        If you gather enough support from whom, precisely? Does everyone get a vote? Or is it just "everyone important", like it normally is under Communism?

        Let them do it. I won't miss Wikipedia if it goes for a day, a month or forever. If something's worth checking, it's worth checking against a primary source. It might give Google a kick up the arse to fix their search engine: constantly serving up Wikipedia articles at the top of the results does not constitute good searching.

        PS. My nearest library is open between 10:00 and 17:30 every day except Sundays and public holidays. Is this bad?

  13. Pete 2

    A dangerous course

    > Wikipedia founder Jimbo Wales is contemplating taking [it] down – temporarily

    Apart from having to face the uncomfortable truth that very few people (leaving aside those who define their personalities by controlling their own little wiki fiefdoms) might notice - or care, there's a bigger issue to consider.

    What gives this guy the right to say "OK this whole mess will be closed for X number of days"? While it is traditionally his "baby", he effectively gifted it to the world. If he's going to spit his dummy and take it back just because of a little local politics in one small part (the USA is only 5% of the world's population) of the internet, that doesn't bode well for how he'd react if the Wiki mafia (i.e. the editors) decided to go in a direction that he, personally, disagreed with.

    If the guy genuinely believed in freedom he'd find another way to demonstrate his political leanings. Causing (some small) inconveniences to other people who have may not have even heard of SOPA, probably have no understanding of it, definitely have no influence over it's passing and ultimately have bigger things to worry about, strikes me as a childish act - and one that could set a precedent with some unintended consequences.

  14. Jamie Kitson
    Thumb Down

    Held to Ransom

    Law makers cannot be held to ransom every time they do something that wiki fiddlers dislike.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      WOW! Missed the point.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oblivious! One wonders if you take it lying down it bed too?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Time to call Jimbo's bluff

      How did we ever cope without Wikipedia?

      Quite well actually.

      1. 5.antiago

        "How did we ever cope without Wikipedia?

        Quite well actually."

        We used to cope OK without a vaccine for small pox. Sometimes the world is just nicer after something new has been developed or invented

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I'm printing out your comment

          You have just compared:

          1) Smallpox vaccine: saved millions of lives; paved the way for future scientific breakthroughs

          2) Wikipedia: unreliable and derivative collection of other sources of information ["citation needed"] - but a great resource for looking up minor Star Trek characters and porn stars.


          1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects


            They both conkered merica dinnit?

    4. M Gale

      They can't?

      I guess it's okay if someone with a few billion in the bank does it then. What do you think lobby groups are for?

      Anyway, it's his site and the editors are with him. If the wikimedia foundation decides on a strike, are you suggesting the govt should step in and stop them? Good luck trying that.

      Whether a wiki blackout will do anything other than give a few officials a bit of a smirk as they put the stamp of approval on SOPA however, is another subject.

  15. Shonko Kid

    Do it!

    Jimbo should cut the jibber-jabber and JFDI!

    In fact, it' be great if all the major sites and ISPs held a 'blackout' day to protest. Show the world what life will be like once this is passed into international^H^H^H^H sorry, US law.

    Imagine the work that could get done!

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge


      You mean that for a day or two all journalists would have to do their own research and not copy it off Wikipedia?

      You know, I'm starting to like this idea - could we make it an annual event?

    2. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      Why stop at a day!

      A whole week!

      That would separate "them wot lerns stuff proper from them wot don't"!

  16. Reverend Brown

    Did you just call us Reggies?

  17. Ben Liddicott

    Voting seems to be about 3:1 in favour

    I guess we can kiss goodbye to the idea of Wikipedia as politically neutral, even if we still believed that after seeing every page of political importance hijacked and colonised by the most motivated view...

    Some good comments opposing the strike though:

    * Oppose I oppose the legislation, but that's a political view. I don't ever want Wikipedia to take a political view, no matter how much I agree with it. Ntsimp (talk) 05:22, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

    * And more: seeing as we actually have an article on Stop_Online_Piracy_Act, engaging in this kind of action would very obviously violate our core policies such as NPOV, not to mention guidelines like WP:COI [conflict of interest](...). We still have these "fundamental pillars" and this is still one of them, right? If so, why is this proposal even being taken seriously? Go away people. Find something better to do and stop trying to kiss Jimbo's (...) ass. And call me crazy but I happen to think that our core pillars take precedence over the "cause du jour", even if it is being pushed by the man himself.

    And in response to some of the more reasonable editors whom I respect who - in my opinion - jumped on this bandwagon for the wrong reasons: (...). Next time around, it's gonna be some different piece of political phenomenon, and one in which your personal opinion might agree with it. If this precedent - of Wikipedia getting into politics with both feet - gets set, then next time around you might find yourself at the losing end of community/Jimbo's proposals for political advocacy. Take a long term view and don't try to win a battle when you might lose a war. Volunteer Marek 01:38, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

    * Oppose This is not what Wikipedia is for. Jimmy Wales may wish to make a protest, but he can do it himself with his own resources, not suborn Wikipedia to be his puppet. The cause may be just, but this is just reaching out to use the most convenient, closest tool at hand rather than the most appropriate. Wikipedia does not belong to Jimmy Wales. Whatever happened to NPOV? Kodabar (talk) 21:50, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

    * I'm just amazed that so many people feel that this wouldn't compromise our neutrality, while discussions of allowing advertising on WP have continued to show a consensus opposed to it. I can't understand how anyone could think advertising would compromise our neutrality while somehow a prominent message openly advocating intervention against a specific political proposal would not. Robofish (talk) 19:16, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Oppose This is not what Wikipedia is for. Jimmy Wales may wish to make a protest, but he can do it himself with his own resources, not suborn Wikipedia to be his puppet"

      STOP talking BOLLOX!

    2. 5.antiago


      There seems to be a lot of support these days for these kinds of measures outside of the traditional political process

      I believe it is symptomatic of the disconnect between the power elite and the common folks, and how the latter feel powerless to affect anything because the game is rigged. This powerlessness is compounded by the modern trend for everyone's opinion to matter, how everything (right up to the meaning of truth itself) is open for the individual to choose. The masses are powerless but have never before felt so entitled to power. And the internet lets them talk to each other

      "I oppose the legislation, but that's a political view. I don't ever want Wikipedia to take a political view, no matter how much I agree with it"

      I think this is a mature and long-sighted view, but it is the minority view because of the disconnect. If the game is rigged in favour of the Money then the masses need champions in the game, big champions to tackle the power elite and retain freedom for them. Wikipedia is a shining example of people power, so it's on "their side". I think that even if people think it's inappropriate for Wikipedia to take a political stance, they mostly regard this as the lesser of two evils - a necessary defence against the forces of control

    3. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      Pecuniary disadvantaged

      Wikipedia put the whistle-blower off the air for trying to alert the world to the state of the world’s banking under the good king George the Thick.

      I have no idea what their politics is but I am pretty sure what their funding strategy was before the world and it's bubble imploded forcing them too to go begging.

      Well done Jiimmy.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    WOW! The COC are a bunch of crazies! Talk about psychopathic.

    1. Mme.Mynkoff

      Obviously! in! trouble!

      Has someone hidden your Ritalin today, and told you to smack the punctuation keys instead?

      Or are you trying to be most knee-jerk, inarticulate poster on El Reg today?

      What a performance.

    2. Grease Monkey

      @Obviously! do you even know what psychopathic means?

  19. jake Silver badge

    Well, from my perspective ...

    Wiki could go away for a couple months, and I'd probably not even notice.

  20. John I'm only dancing
    Thumb Down

    I would prefer

    He took it down permanently, There is far too much inaccuracy and lies on Wikipedia. For such a global encyclopedia, it would be far better that it was not a commercial operation, rather funded by the UN. Then we might get truth, rather an opinion.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Turn it against them?

    As far as I can tell, the bill will allow anyone who has had their IP infringed upon by a website, to have that website blocked.

    Any idea on for what amount of time?

    Also could this bill not simply be turned against the people everyone seem so afraid off?

    Let's say it turns out that Warner Bros. start targetting review sites, comedy sites - that sort of thing.

    As it seems that you only have to show that your IP was on their websites, in order to have it taken down, couldn't you potentially have someone - just once - succesfully hack the warner Bros website, upload some random piece of IP and then have them shut down?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    seems a lot of people miss the point - its not that Jimmy Wales personally has a problem with this law (though he might well), its that enacting it as it is currently written would effectively shut down wikipedia, at least in the US - and in all honestly, people need to realise that if it was shut down in the US it might as well be shut down everywhere else as well.

    1. 5.antiago
      Thumb Down


      "people need to realise that if it was shut down in the US it might as well be shut down everywhere else as well."

      Nah, that's US-centric rubbish. Stuff just moves around and responds to environmental pressures, the idea itself won't go extinct.

      What will happen if Wikipedia collapses is that the entire site contents will be copied the day before and new competitors will spring up in other countries unaffected by US laws. The whole thing then begins to flourish anew, under local jurisdictions. This is a reality of globalised capitalism.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Would be better to take down Facebook and Youtube?

    1. unitron

      Of course, but...

      "Would be better to take down Facebook and Youtube?:"

      Obviously, but that's a matter of taste, not politics.

  24. John Brookes

    I think they should turn WP off for a bit....

    ....just to try and make journalists remember how to research stories.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If it is primarily a political protest then he should find another way, since it would really be an abuse of his position - taking power from a community that didn't sign up for this sort of use.

    If, on the other hand, he is right that SOPA is a real threat to Wikipedia, then some form of action might be justifiable. In that case, though, he should confine the action to the US.

    If he really wants to be focused about it, and if it's feasible, maybe they should simply filter out access from US Govt IP addresses for a time.

    A word of warning, though - I think Wikileaks has been dragged down significantly by a seemingly political desire to attack the US Government. It would be a shame of Wikipedia went the same way.

  26. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Wikipedia on strike?

    Why does this remind me of the national philosophers' strike proposed by Vroomfondel and Majikthise. Deep Thought's answer is memorable:

    "And, pray, who will that inconvenience?"

    In this case the answer must be school kids and students who now have to look for original sources themselves (tip: try the library, you know, the place with all them books ;-) ).

    1. Local Group

      @ try the library

      Does it make any sense to spend 2 hours at the library (getting there and back) sourcing something that would take you 15 minutes to do at home on your own computer?

      Isn't the greater speed of doing things, what the future is all about?

      1. Grease Monkey

        So what you're saying is you would rather get false information from Wikipedia than correct information from the library. You must really care about your grades.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "people need to realise that if it was shut down in the US it might as well be shut down everywhere else as well"

    I love the arrogance.

  28. Local Group

    "With malice toward none

    with charity for all..." Gettysburg Address or Second Inaugural?

    Can't remember? Well, by the time you're in your mid 70's, you won't have to have Alzheimer's or mild dementia to have an incredibly bad memory. So work hard now in your 20's, 30's and 40's to have WikiPedia taken down, so you can be sure to be a bumbling old man or woman when you hit your 70's.

  29. The obvious

    Just one day?

    Can't we have a permanent blackout instead?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More effective

    would be to block all access to Wiki by Government addresses.


    (anonymous 'cause I dig the masque)

  31. James Woods

    Is this in between begging for money or will the begging continue throughout the blackout?

  32. Grease Monkey

    Please take it down. It will mean people (especially students and journalists) will have to do some real research for a change.

  33. JDX Gold badge

    re:Anyone can edit, but only Jimbo can grant access... wtf?

    Sorry but did you think you own the part of wikipedia you wrote? Just like the Reg forums, wikipedia is owned by someone and thy can do what they like with it.

    1. Grease Monkey

      Ah, but this is what makes a nonsense of so much of the defence used by the likes of Wikipedia and Google. Whenever something dodgy turns up on Wikipedia or Youtube or wherever the site's owners claim "safe harbour" or some such bollocks and say they are not responsible for the content placed on their site just so long as they promise to take it down when somebody complains loud enough. Notice it's more about promising to take it down than actually taking it down. However they also want to own any content that is posted on the site.

      If they own it then they are responsible for it. If they are not responsible then they can't own it.

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