"Student warning, do your homework early, Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday!" posted site co-founder Jimmy Wales in a Tweet on Tuesday.
The SOPA anti-piracy bill, currently being debated by the US House of Representatives, and the PROTECTIP (PIPA) Act, proposing to tackle online piracy by “foreign rogue websites” that are hosted outside of the United States, creating a series of measures aimed at tightening up control over the internet.
Many companies are against the bill arguing that freedom of speech will be seriously affected by internet censorship and that a number of the opposed measures, which include giving ISPs the ability to block access to foreign websites, are an abuse of power.
"This is an extraordinary action for our community to take - and while we regret having to prevent the world from having access to Wikipedia for even a second, we simply cannot ignore the fact that SOPA and PIPA endanger free speech both in the United States and abroad, and set a frightening precedent of Internet censorship for the world," Wikipedia said in statement released today.
The Wikipedia blackout will only affect the English language version of the online encyclopaedia, which reportedly receives 25 million visitors per day.
Protesters against the bill are labelling January 19th as 'SOPA Blackout Day,' encouraging websites to shutdown for a 24 hour period. “The damage it would cause to our internet infrastructure would be irreparable,” reads a post on the official anti-SOPA website.
Major internet corporations including Facebook, Google and Twitter have also opposed the bill, yet will not be making such a bold protest.
Earlier this week, Rupert Murdoch made his thoughts clear on the SOPA bill, taking to Twitter to vent his frustration against the Whitehouse.