U.S. Senators have publicly withdrawn support for the two controversial anti-piracy bills that prompted Wikipedia and thousands of other websites to shut down for 24 hours.
A total of 18 representatives said they no longer approved of the SOPA and PIPA bills that critics say would allow U.S. Congress to implement draconian laws to police the internet and combat piracy.
It means yesterday's protest, supported by Google and Facebook's Mark Zuckerburg, has had a startling effect, with one of the Senators who initially sponsored the bill now backing down.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who co-sponsored the controversial 'Protect IP' - PIPA bill, urged for more caution.
He said: 'Congress should listen and avoid rushing through a bill that could have many unintended consequences.'
On a normal day, 100 million web users would use Wikipedia, wanting to know everything from the height of Mount Kilimanjaro to the birth date of Charles Dickens.
But yesterday they were met with a message which began: ‘Imagine a world without free knowledge.’
Following the 24-hour blackout the website went back online at 5am this morning.
Wikipedia, Google and many others, including eBay, Facebook and Twitter, are challenging the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect Intellectual Property Act, which are being taken through the U.S. Congress.
Wikipedia today sported a 'thank you' banner at the top of its page, with organisers claiming more than 162 million people had seen the blackout.
So many people logged on to the websites of Senators that several crashed.
A message on the site said: 'The Wikipedia blackout is over - and you have spoken.
'More than 162 million people saw our message asking if you could imagine a world without free knowledge. You said no.
'You shut down Congress's switchboards. You melted their servers. From all around the world your messages dominated social media and the news.
|Saves the day again|
So the people have spoken. Isn't it cool when democracy works? This is how our democracy has changed since the old days. Now people are concerned about online rights more than real ones, and when companies make an issue affect them (Wikipedia shutting down) then people get pissed. Make the issue real to people and they do act. Now if we could only band together with such passion for anything besides our right to steal each others stuff on the internet.
And college kids everywhere breath a sigh of relief that Wikipedia is back.