Wikipedia plans protest blackout today

NEW YORK (AP) — Don't be surprised if you can't find Wikipedia today.

The online encyclopedia's English language website is down until midnight. The 24-hour blackout is to protest anti-piracy legislation under consideration in Congress.

The Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act are designed to crack down on sales of pirated U.S. products overseas.

Supporters including the film and music industry say the legislation is needed to protect intellectual property and jobs.

Critics say it could hurt the technology industry and infringe on free-speech rights. Tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, eBay, AOL and others have said it threatens the industry's livelihood.

Several online communities such as Reddit, Boing Boing and others have announced plans to go dark in protest as well.

But Wikipedia volunteer editors who disagree with the shutdown say it threatens the credibility of their work. Editor Robert Lawton says, "Before we know it, we're blacked out because we want to save the whales."

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125-c-18-(Shirley Smith, AP correspondent)-"politics is foolish"-AP correspondent Shirley Smith reports some disagree with Wikipedia's decision to shut down for 24 hours. (18 Jan 2012)

<> 00:18 "politics is foolish"

124-v-30-(Shirley Smith, AP correspondent)--Some volunteer editors are upset with Wikipedia's decision to shut down its website today to protest some proposed legislation. AP correspondent Shirley Smith reports. (18 Jan 2012)

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044-w-32-(Warren Levinson, AP correspondent, with Jay Walsh, spokesman, Wikimedia Foundation)--Don't bother trying to call up the online encyclopedia Wikipedia today. AP correspondent Warren Levinson explains why. (18 Jan 2012)

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088-a-13-(Jay Walsh, spokesman, Wikimedia Foundation, in AP interview)-"hoping for that"-Wikimedia Foundation spokesman Jay Walsh says the organization hopes to raise awareness of the dangers of the proposed legislation. (18 Jan 2012)

<> 00:13 "hoping for that"

087-a-09-(Jay Walsh, spokesman, Wikimedia Foundation, in AP interview)-"difficult for them"-Wikimedia Foundation spokesman Jay Walsh says the anti-piracy bills pending in Congress would curtail all use of the Internet. (18 Jan 2012)

<> 00:09 "difficult for them"

GRAPHICSBANK 1126632: Wikipedia Logo on gray (18 Jan 2012)

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