By Christy Strawser
CBS Detroit Managing Editor
Need to know what items TV hero MacGyver needed to turn a telescope into a cannon? Good luck — you won’t be able to find out on Wikipedia today.
The sixth most popular website in the world announced it would go dark Wednesday to protest SOPA legislation that would enable greater enforcement of copyright laws that protect movies, music and other information on websites. The measures are meant to protect intellectual property by, among other measures, blocking offending websites from search engines and forbidding advertising on their sites.
Unauthorized streaming of copyrighted material could land an offender in jail for five years.
Opponents argue it would make sites like Google, Facebook, and Wikipedia function as Internet police to block websites and monitor traffic in a way that could violate First Amendment and privacy rights.
“While I support their goal of reducing copyright infringement (which I don’t believe these acts would accomplish), I am shocked that our lawmakers would contemplate such measures that would put us on a par with the most oppressive nations in the world,” Sergey Brin, one of the co-founders of Google, wrote in a post on Google+.
SOPA legislation is winding its way through both the United States House of Representatives and the Senate.
U.S. Representative Candice Miller of Michigan told WWJ she’s against this bill, and doesn’t think it will go anywhere.
“I have been very vocal against the bill… When we start really getting into the tremendous, creative tool that is the internet, I think it’s a very slippery slope,” said Miller.
So, will you miss Wikipedia today?