A bunch of the folks who were instrumental in the SOPA/PIPA fight have been working together over the last few months to build The Internet Defense League, which is launching today. Techdirt is a founding member, along with a number of other organizations and sites, including Reddit, Mozilla, Cheezburger, EFF, Fark, Imgur and more. The process is being driven by the awesome folks at Fight for the Future, who were the ones behind the American Censorship Day effort during the SOPA fight. The launch is today, in part because today is also the day that the new Batman movie opens -- and part of the IDL's concept is that when the internet is at risk, it can shine a "cat signal" to alert the internet to jump in and do something:
Believe it or not, they've actually put together a few of these cat signals in real life, so look around tonight in a few cities and you might see one.
Earlier this year, I wrote about the Hacking Society gathering, put on by Union Square Ventures. During that discussion, Clay Shirky brought up the idea of an "Internet Volunteer Fire Department" and Tiffiniy Cheng, from Fight for the Future, explained the IDL and how they were already working on it. You can watch that discussion to get a sense of the thinking behind this effort:
We're proud and excited to be a part of this effort. We, like many, hope that the IDL is actually a wasted effort and is never actually needed. But, given what we see happening all the time, it seems unlikely that the IDL will never need to be called into action.