The move is a protest against proposed legislation including the Stop Online Piracy Act bill, according to a statement by Wikimedia Foundation Inc., the non-profit organization that operates the encyclopedia. The law being discussed in the U.S. is designed to combat issues including illegally copied films and TV content.
“If passed, this legislation will harm the free and open Internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States,” Wikimedia said in the statement. Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, called the decision to shut the website an “extraordinary” action as the proposed laws “endanger free speech both in the United States and abroad, and set a frightening precedent of Internet censorship for the world.
” Wikipedia, available in 282 languages, contains more than 20 million articles contributed by a global volunteer community of more than 100,000 people. Spokespeople at Wikipedia and Wikimedia weren’t immediately available to comment. --Editors: Robert Valpuesta, Kenneth Wong. To contact the reporter on this story: Chiara Remondini in Milan at firstname.lastname@example.org To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at email@example.com