The Avengers is setting all kinds of records at the box office and the story of a group of heavy hitters coming to together to save the world is one that now seems to be coming true. Only, this time, the thing that needs to be saved is the Internet.
Back in January, if you recall, websites such as Wikipedia, BoingBoing, and Reddit went black for a day in protest of the proposed SOPA and PIPA legislation. The proposed laws which would have granted the government the power to essentially block any website they said was violating copyright, among other things.
Websites individually decided whether they wanted to make a stand against legislation they thought would hurt their business. The protest made headlines and helped to kill SOPA and PIPA, but the websites themselves were out there alone, without any kind of organization backing them.
Of course, even though SOPA and PIPA were shelved, new legislation has been proposed which would do roughly the same thing, such as ACTA and CISPA.
So what are these sites to do the next time an act of legislation pops up like this, and they want to make sure that people are aware of it? The protest worked once, but who is to say that it would work again, especially if the public is not aware of what is happening?
That is where the new Internet Defense League comes in.
Founded by Tiffiniy Cheng of Fight for the Future, and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, the Internet Defense League seeks to organize the informal protest over SOPA by joining the website together so they can coordinate the fight and inform the public of new proposals by lawmakers.
The site works by sending out alerts out to its members when there is an emergency that requires their attention, such as when a new piece of legislation is introduced like SOPA.
“The Internet Defense League takes the tactic that killed SOPA & PIPA and turns it into a permanent force for defending the internet, and making it better. Think of it like the internet's Emergency Broadcast System, or its bat signal!”
Any website is allowed to join, and will be sent code to add to their website. The code will then send an alert to the site when a new crisis has arisen, asking them to take action.
So far those who have signed up include WordPress, Imgur, Reddit, Cheezburger Network, Public Knowledge, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, according to AllThingsD.
Actions can range from adding a banner to the site, an urge for viewers of the site to call their local politicians, campaigns to boycott certain companies or, if it came to it, another blackout. Whether or not the websites themselves choose to go ahead on any of these actions is up to them.
“The next time there’s an emergency, we’ll tell you and send new code. Then it’s your decision to pull the trigger,” the League says on its site.