Wikipedia founder defends SOPA blackout; Twitter has other protest plans in the works

After announcing yesterday that Wikipedia will join other websites in a January 18 blackout to protest the SOPA piracy bill, founder Jimmy Wales has explained his reasoning further to fend off criticism.

Meanwhile, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo (pictured) caught flack last night when he seemingly criticized Wikipedia’s blackout decision, only to clarify his position later. Twitter won’t be blacking out its service, but Costolo says he has something else planned to protest SOPA and its sister bill PIPA.

“The general sentiment seemed to be that US law, as it impacts the internet, can affect everyone,” Wales told the Telegraph in an interview this morning. “As for me, what I am hoping is that people outside the US who have friends or family who are voters in the US, will ask them to make a call to their senator or representative, and I hope we send a broad global message that the internet as a whole will not tolerate censorship in response to mere allegations of copyright infringement.”

Wikipedia will be joining major sites like Reddit and Boing Boing with its SOPA blackout, but Twitter — which has already publicly denounced the anti-piracy measures — won’t be following suit.

Alex Howard, a technology journalist who focuses on open government, asked openly on Twitter if Costolo, Google’s Eric Schmidt, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg “have the cojones” to follow through with blackouts of their own. In response, Costolo tweeted: “That’s just silly. Closing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish.”

That single tweet led many to believe that Costolo didn’t agree with Wikipedia’s blackout, but he later explained his reasoning: “Not shutting down a service doesn’t equal not taking the proper stance on an issue. We’ve been very clear about our stance.” Costolo followed that up by saying, “We have been very active and will continue to be very active. Watch this space.”

Clearly he has something in mind to protest SOPA, and we expect his plans to be announced soon. Costolo also responded directly to Wales about the non-controversy on Twitter, explaining he was “only referring to Twitter in response to explicit tweet suggesting we lacked courage for not shutting down.”

Via Gov 2.0