Wikipedia's blackout Wednesday in protest against the controversial SOPA and PIPA shocked and affected people who strive for free and open knowledge online. However, the blackout didn't affect the traffic to Wikipedia as the gawkers clicked the site so many times that the Web site saw an unexpected boost in traffic.
The SOPA Initiative page of Wikipedia saw a big jump from about 15 percent to 45 percent of traffic Wednesday while the traffic to the SOPA and PIPA pages on the site remained almost the same.
[Data] suggests that more people are flocking to Wikipedia today, but just to see the protest page and some details on SOPA. This behavior could be described as 'online rubber necking,' said Zscaler in a blog post.
Wikipedia's protest against the SOPA and PIPA by blacking out the English Wikipedia for 24 hours began at midnight January 18, Eastern Time.
According to the Web site, Wikipedians have decided to black out the English Wikipedia as they believe that the SOPA and PIPA will severely limit people's access to free information and knowledge available online and SOPA's this attempt to inhibit knowledge will not only affect people in the United States but also everyone around the world.
The SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) has remained a controversial bill since its introduction in the United States House of Representatives Oct. 26. The PIPA or the Protect IP Act bill was introduced in May 2011 with the goal of giving the U.S. government and copyright holders additional tools to curb access to rogue Web sites dedicated to infringing or counterfeit goods.
If passed, the SOPA and the PIPA will aim to put an end to online piracy of music, movies and television shows. Soon as the bill is passed, the U.S. Attorney General will be allowed to block any Web site that violates copyright. Any financial supports provided by companies such as PayPal or MasterCard to the pirated sites will also be banned. Search engines will also be forced to remove the Web site name from its registry.
The proposed anti-piracy bill generated mixed reactions from all over the world. While 350 companies, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Pfizer, Revlon, Ford Motor Company and Macmillan Publishers, have publicly supported the SOPA bill, the world's leading Internet entrepreneurs such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, Mozilla Corp and Yahoo vehemently protested it.
The bill was not welcomed by the tech communities from all over the world also and faced major criticisms saying SOPA-is-cancer to the Free Web.