The online encyclopedia says it will, making it the most prominent participant to date in a planned Wednesday protest over a Hollywood-supported effort to fight online piracy. “We have no indication that SOPA [the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act] is fully off the table,” Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales tweeted today. Also, a similar bill in the Senate, the Protect IP Act, “is still alive and kicking. We need to send Washington a BIG message.” The plan is for Wikipedia’s English-language site to go down for a day beginning Wednesday at midnight ET. “Student warning! Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday!” Wales tweeted. He added that “My goal is to melt switchboards!” Last week news aggregator Reddit said it would go dark for 12 hours on Wednesday; Cheezburger Network also will join the protest. The companies, along with most of the tech community, bitterly oppose the proposals that would give the government the right to block overseas sites that traffic in pirated content. They say the legislation could backfire if the government used its power to close legitimate sites or thwart free speech — or if it dissuades investors from backing innovative new Web businesses. The MPAA says that illegal sales of copyrighted work endanger U.S. jobs by making movies and TV shows less lucrative. The White House said on Saturday that it shares many of the tech community’s concerns. That dampened the likelihood that the bills will pass, at least in their current form. Still, the MPAA said that it’s still willing to negotiate a compromise. “We hope the Administration’s role in this debate now will help steer the attention to what can be accomplished and passed into law to protect American jobs,” MPAA Senior EVP Global Policy and External Affairs Michael O’Leary said.
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