English-reading users of Wikipedia will have to do without their favourite first point of reference for 24 hours because the English version of the online encyclopedia is only accessible with difficulty for 24 hours starting mid-night US Eastern Time on 18 January.
Wikipedia is protesting over two bills soon to be debated in the United States Congress. One is the Stop On Line Piracy (SOPA) Act and the other is the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). These are designed to prevent copyright infringement on the internet.
Wikipedia considers that the bills are flawed and badly drafted and will not achieve the effect they desire. It is also protesting because it considers that if passed the two bills will infringe freedom of expression and will be a threat to an open and free internet. Wikipedia claims that the measures will affect small websites outside the United States hardest and play into the hands of the media giants.
You can find out more details of both bills by visiting Wikipedia.
Wikipedia can still be accessed by smartphones and the Italian version it.www.wikipedia.org is visible.