Wikipedia’s much publicized 24-hour blackout in protest of online anti-piracy laws is not, it turns out, quite so dark.
The user-created encyclopedia is one of a number of Web sites that temporarily closed at midnight Wednesday to publicize their belief that provisions in two Congressional bills, the Stop Online Piracy Act, referred to as SOPA as well as the PIPA, or the Protect IP Act, which may require search engines to block access to sites that employ copyrighted material via links or hosting, is tantamount to censorship, among other concerns. But while a visit to Wikipedia’s English site shows a gloomy black screen with the stark words “Imagine a world without free knowledge,” intrepid users have to imagine no such thing — it is still possible to access Wikipedia’s content via a number of ways.
For example: typing Wikipedia.org in a Web browser (or any of the site’s pages for that matter), and as the page loads, pressing the escape key, circumvents or stops the blackout placeholder page from appearing. Timing the maneuver exactly right, may take a few tries.
The Wikipedia mobile app appears to be alive and working well too.
While the blackout (or greyout?) began at 12:00 a.m. on the East Coast, there have been reports that the site is still visible (even without any escape key derring-do) in timezones where browser clocks have not yet hit midnight.
There is also of course the option of reading Wikipedia in another language; the site has versions in 200 other languages. MetaWiki.org, the “global community site for the Wikimedia Foundation’s projects” — another site that seems to be up and running — says so.