Wikipedia announced its decision for a world-wide black out of its English-language site for 24 hours, beginning at 05:00 UTC Wednesday, January 18.
In a statement from the Wikimedia Foundation, the blackout is in protest of two proposed pieces of legislation in the US -- the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) -- that if passed, would "seriously damage the free and open Internet, including Wikipedia."
An excerpt of the statement is as follows:
It is the opinion of the English Wikipedia community that both of these bills, if passed, would be devastating to the free and open web.
Over the course of the past 72 hours, over 1800 Wikipedians have joined together to discuss proposed actions that the community might wish to take against SOPA and PIPA. This is by far the largest level of participation in a community discussion ever seen on Wikipedia, which illustrates the level of concern that Wikipedians feel about this proposed legislation. The overwhelming majority of participants support community action to encourage greater public action in response to these two bills. Of the proposals considered by Wikipedians, those that would result in a "blackout" of the English Wikipedia, in concert with similar blackouts on other websites opposed to SOPA and PIPA, received the strongest support.
On careful review of this discussion, the closing administrators note the broad-based support for action from Wikipedians around the world, not just from within the United States. The primary objection to a global blackout came from those who preferred that the blackout be limited to readers from the United States, with the rest of the world seeing a simple banner notice instead. We also noted that roughly 55% of those supporting a blackout preferred that it be a global one, with many pointing to concerns about similar legislation in other nations.
Additionally, Dr. Michael Geist, who has consistantly championed Canadian online freedoms, put out a call for participation in the January 18th blackout, and outlines Why Canadians Should Participate in the SOPA/PIPA Protest on his blog.
Other coverage on going dark for the day: