A week on the web: Sopa, Pipa and #FactsWithoutWikipedia

Wikipedia was one of several high-traffic websites that went ‘dark’ on Wednesday in protest at proposed legislation in the US that would – critics say – seriously infringe freedom on the internet. Twitter reacted by making up a load of random facts the veracity of which no one could check

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  1. Lazy students (and most journalists) were in crisis mode on Wednesday when Wikipedia took itself offline. The font of all web wisdom joined a number of other high-profile sites in ‘going dark’ in protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) and Protect IP Act (Pipa).


    These two pieces of US anti-piracy legislation aim to clamp down on digital copyright violations. Critics say they will have a chilling effect on the web – hence the protest.


    Click here for an explainer:

  2. Here for Clay Shirky’s eloquently argued demolition of the proposals:
  3. And here for a gallery of messages from the protest’s backers:
  4. Fortunately, Twitter’s owners thought the Wikipedia-led gesture was a bit silly and refused to join in, which meant the wags of the internet were free to make up a load of nonsense and pass it off as fact. Read on for our #FactsWithoutWikipedia awards.
  5. Best use of music
  6. The Richard Dawkins award for Bible-bashing
  7. The Professor Brian Cox award for inspiring people to look wistfully at the sky from the top of the mountain
  8. Best appearance by an animal 
  9. Best (probably only) tweet mentioning Nicolas Cage
  10. The Paul Dacre award for impartiality
  11. Best tweet managing the nigh-on impossible task of likening the royal wedding to complex US legislation