Please also see the related blog post,

The release is posted here:

*English Wikipedia to go dark January 18 in opposition to SOPA/PIPA
San Francisco -- January 16, 2012 -- On January 18, 2012, in an
unprecedented decision, the Wikipedia community has chosen to blackout the
English version of Wikipedia for 24 hours, in protest against proposed
legislation in the United States — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the
U.S. House of Representatives, and PROTECTIP (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate. If
passed, this legislation will harm the free and open Internet and bring
about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United

Wikipedia administrators confirmed this decision Monday afternoon (PST) in
a public statement (

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.

“Today Wikipedians from around the world have spoken about their opposition
to this destructive legislation," said Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia.
"This is an extraordinary action for our community to take - and while we
regret having to prevent the world from having access to Wikipedia for even
a second, we simply cannot ignore the fact that SOPA and PIPA endanger free
speech both in the United States and abroad, and set a frightening
precedent of Internet censorship for the world."

We urge Wikipedia readers to make your voices heard. If you live in the
United States, find your elected representative in Washington ( If you live outside the United States,
contact your State Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs or similar
branch of government. Tell them you oppose SOPA and PIPA, and want the
internet to remain open and free.

*About the Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. According to comScore Media Metrix,
Wikipedia and the other projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation
receive more than 474 million unique visitors per month, making them the
fifth-most popular web property world-wide (comScore, November 2011).
Available in 282 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 20 million
articles contributed by a global volunteer community of more than 100,000
people. Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is an
audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded primarily through donations and

*Media Contact:
Jay Walsh
Head of Communications
Wikimedia Foundation
Tel. +1 415 839 6885 x 6609
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