To protest two pieces of legislation that threaten the free and open Internet as we know it, thousands of websites, including Wikipedia, are taking themselves offline. Others, including Google, are asking users to take action.

Google and Wikipedia are the first and sixth most-trafficked sites in the world, respectively, according to Alexa. The sites are protesting the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act, because, in the words of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, “they would hamper innovation, kill jobs, wreak havoc on Internet security, and undermine the free speech principles upon which our country was founded.”

We’re going to be talking with experts about this issue on Truthdig Radio the day after the protest. Listen anytime at or find us on 90.7 KPFK Los Angeles this Thursday at 4 p.m.

The Wikipedia blackout will last from midnight Wednesday until midnight Thursday, and affects only the English-language site. A statement on Wikipedia says that the decision “was made by Wikipedia’s global community of editors — the people who built Wikipedia” and supported by the Wikimedia Foundation.

Google has not closed its site for business, but the world’s busiest page now bears a blacked-out logo. Clicking on it will take you to an advocacy page that invites users to sign a petition denouncing SOPA and PIPA.

Anyone who wants to know how their elected officials are coming down on the bills should check out this handy guide.

Below, Amy Goodman speaks with Corynne McSherry of the Electronic Frontier Foundation about the legislation. — PZS

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