March 7, 2012 / 1:15 PM / 7 years ago

Wikipedia avoids politics after copyright victory

LONDON, March 7 (Reuters) - Wikipedia has no intention of becoming a political campaigning organisation after playing a key role in stopping proposed U.S. anti-piracy legislation in its tracks with a 24-hour blackout in January, founder Jimmy Wales said on Wednesday.

Web companies and consumers, worried that the proposed legislation would undermine Internet freedoms, won a battle to postpone the proposed bills indefinitely after staging an unprecedented online protest.

Wales said he believed that the current business models of media companies, which depend on the strict enforcement of rights sold by territory, would break down.

But he did not foresee the online encyclopedia - which is written and edited by volunteers and has an estimated 365 million readers worldwide - getting involved in further political campaigns.

“We really don’t want to become a political lobbying force of any kind and we are hopeful that we won’t ever have to do this again,” Wales told a Financial Times digital media conference in London.

“Because we have this very strong view of neutrality... we really are not going to get involved in political activism generally. It just wouldn’t be the right thing for us today.”

The stopping of the anti-piracy bills, SOPA and PIPA, was lauded as a triumph of people power as well as of Silicon Valley, as tens of thousands added “Stop SOPA” banners to their Twitter and Facebook profile pages and signed online petitions.

“We are now in an era where the general public has a voice in a way they never had before,” said Wales. (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan Editing by Maria Golovnina)

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