Pistols at nightfall; Wikipedia blackout and shelving of SOPA.

In the last few hours, the English language version of Wikipedia has confirmed that it will go dark for 24 hours on Wednesday this week (18th January 2012) in protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which has been debated in the US House of Representatives recently and drawn opposition from wide circles including 83 prominent internet inventors, pioneers and engineers.  Curiously, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform have also released a statement in a rather hurried manner asserting that the hearing pencilled in for Wednesday on DNS issues has been postponed and that no move for a vote will be made until a consensus can be obtained.

The PROTECT IP Act / Senate Bill 968 is still very much alive and – from a careful reading of Chairman Issa’s words – SOPA is definitely not dead but merely held in waiting.  With battle-lines being drawn, the move to hold off on SOPA appears less of a retreat than a consolidation until public hostility is mitigated or peoples’ attention more distracted.

The rampant commercial interests backing SOPA may have gained a bloody nose but if anything is clear at this moment in time – the fight is far from over.


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