The largest encyclopedia ever assembled will go offline tomorrow to protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act, currently working its way through Congress's collective bowels. From Wikipedia's public statement:
[T]he Wikimedia Foundation is asked to allocate resources and assist the community in blacking out the project globally for 24 hours starting at 05:00 UTC on January 18, 2012, or at another time as determined by the Wikimedia Foundation. This should be carried out while respecting technical limitations of the underlying software, and should specifically prevent editing wherever possible. Provisions for emergency access to the site should be included in the blackout software. In order to assist our readers and the community at large to educate themselves about SOPA and PIPA, these articles and those closely related to them will remain accessible for reading purposes if possible. Wikipedians are urged to work with WMF staff to develop effective messaging for the "blackout screens" that directs readers to suitable online resources. Sister projects, such as the German and Italian Wikipedias and Wikimedia Commons, have indicated an intention to support the same principles with banners on those sites, and the support of other projects is welcome and appreciated.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is unimpressed: " 'That's just silly. Closing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish,' Costolo [said]."
For what it's worth, my U.S. Senators are split: Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) claims to be opposed to it, while Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) is a co-sponsor of the Senate's version. Neither has any material on his website about it. I have written to Senator Durbin and to Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL) for comment.