Wikipedia is Shutting Down for One Day Protesting SOPA

This Wednesday several online websites, including Wikipedia, will shut down completely for 24 hours to protest proposed legislation aimed at combating online piracy.

This comes just about two weeks before Congress is set to vote on the controversial legislation, Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA.

Joining Wikipedia are other prominent websites that have pledged to “blackout” on Wednesday including news site Reddit, Wordpress as well as the wildly popular Cheezburger Network.

The outage will last 24 hours and affect only the English language version of the site according to founder Jimmy Wales.

When users try to visit Wikipedia they will see instructions for how to reach local members of Congress, which Wales hopes "will melt phone systems in Washington."

Wordpress is also joining the protest stating on their website that "there's something going on in U.S. politics right now that we need to make sure you know about and understand, because it affects us all."

The White House issued a warning over the weekend about SOPA, as well as related legislation such as the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) and the Online Protection and Digital Enforcement Act (OPEN), which would give the government and content companies increased power to monitor the unlawful distribution and profiteering of their intellectual property.

The White House stated any effort to combat online piracy “must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small.”

The Motion Picture Association of America was direct in their response to the White House statement.

In a statement by Michael O’Leary, Senior Executive Vice President for Global Policy and External Affairs for the MPAA wrote, “We welcome the Administration's clear statement that legislation is needed to stop foreign based thieves from stealing the hard work and creativity of millions of American workers.”

But Wales was excited about his new leadership role, "I'm proud to be able in some small way to have a leadership role against censorship," Wales said. "But the community gets the credit here."