While Batman may be the caped crusader of Gotham, the "laughing cat" is currently protecting our digital world.
Last night the Internet Defense League revealed it's cat symbol onto a New York building near Chinatown, in congruence with latest Batman flick hitting theaters. The laughing cat was was also spotted in San Francisco, Washington DC and Mongolia, per The Daily Dot.
This move marked the League's official launch, meaning when the Internet is now in danger, there is superhero (of sorts) to call upon.
Wired reports that the Internet Defense League was an idea between Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, and the internet activist group Fight for the Future. Since its announcement this past May, other advocacy groups and large websites have joined the League, including Mozilla, WordPress and Grooveshark.
Below is a tweet from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group who supports the League's mission, at the San Francisco launch party. Notice the laughing cat in the background, lighting up the night sky.
Last January, over 7,000 websites went "dark" in protest of anti-piracy bills Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP (PIPA). According to the League's website, the collaboration of networks hopes to act as "emergency broadcast system" to spread awareness, borrowing from the methodology that effectively killed these restrictive bills.
"With the combined reach of our websites and social networks, we can be massively more effective than any one organization," the Internet Defense League website reads. Ohanian explains how the superhero-like group will call users to action with the following statements below, per Wired:
“At a moment of notice, this kind of digital bat signal will go up in the air and you’ll get notified and have the opportunity to take action however you see fit on your site. It could be a slew of buttons that give links to whatever we’re doing, a call to action to sign a petition, or a couple of lines of code that you put on your site that allows someone to call their senator. It will be up to the web owner to decide…. We’re trying to encourage as much from the bottom up, because that’s how the internet works.”
During the formation of the Internet Defense League, according to TG Daily, some likened the collaboration to "a bat-signal for the Internet." Thus a cat, what many say is the unofficial mascot of the internet, will be projected in times of supposed danger.
What do you think about the Internet Defense League? Do you believe this open network can stop legislation like SOPA again? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or tweet us at @HuffPostTech.
Wikipedia is planning <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/16/wikipedia-blackout-jimmy-wales-sopa_n_1208947.html" target="_hplink">a 24-hour blackout</a> beginning at midnight EST on January 18 and lasting for 24 hours.
Reddit, the social sharing site that <a href="http://blog.reddit.com/2012/01/stopped-they-must-be-on-this-all.html" target="_hplink">first proposed the SOPA strike</a>, will blackout for 12 hours on January 18, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST. <a href="http://blog.reddit.com/2012/01/stopped-they-must-be-on-this-all.html" target="_hplink">From the Reddit blog</a>: <blockquote>Instead of the normal glorious, user-curated chaos of reddit, we will be displaying a simple message about how the PIPA/SOPA legislation would shut down sites like reddit, link to resources to learn more, and suggest ways to take action.</blockquote>
Google announced on Wednesday that it will also protest SOPA and PIPA. <a href="http://news.cnet.com/8301-31001_3-57360223-261/google-will-protest-sopa-using-popular-home-page/?part=rss&subj=latest-news&tag=title" target="_hplink">According to CNET</a>, Google will have a link on its US homepage showing its opposition to SOPA and PIPA.
Various news outlets report that photo sharing site twitpic will join the protest against SOPA and PIPA, but it's unclear what the site will do on January 18.
WordPress.org, the popular blogging platform, will go dark on Wednesday to protest SOPA and PIPA. <a href="http://wordpress.org/news/2012/01/help-stop-sopa-pipa/" target="_hplink">In a post</a> on the WordPress blog, Jane Wells, the UX lead for WordPress, wrote that "if this bill is passed it will jeopardize internet freedom and shift the power of the independent web into the hands of corporations. We must stop it."
<a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501465_162-57360174-501465/wikipedia-moveon-reddit-mozilla-shuts-down-to-protest-sopa-pipa-how-to-prepare/" target="_hplink">According to CBS</a>, Mozilla will participate in the blackout on January 18. Mozilla has dedicated entire pages to both <a href="http://www.mozilla.org/sopa/" target="_hplink">SOPA</a> and <a href="https://donate.mozilla.org/page/s/commit-to-call-pipa" target="_hplink">PIPA</a>.
MoveOn.org, the progressive PAC, will go dark on January 18 to protest SOPA. "Congress is playing fast and loose with Internet censorship legislation that would have people like Justin Bieber thrown in jail for uploading a video to YouTube," said Justin Ruben, the executive director of MoveOn.org, <a href="http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2012/01/more-web-sites-plan-blackouts-in-protest-against-sopa-pipa/1" target="_hplink">according to USA Today</a>.
Center For Democracy And Technology
The Center for Democracy and Technology, <a href="http://www.cdt.org/about" target="_hplink">a non-profit</a> that's "working to keep the internet open," <a href="http://www.cdt.org/blogs/161open-internet-fights-back" target="_hplink">will go dark on Wednesday</a> "[i]n an effort to pressure the Senate to postpone its premature action -- and to protest the slanted process by which PIPA and SOPA have advanced through Congress."
Imgur, the free image-hosting site, will blackout its galleries for 12 hours on January 18. Instead of the gallery, users will see "a message about how the PIPA/SOPA legislation threatens sites like Imgur with methods to take action," <a href="http://imgur.com/blog/2012/01/16/imgur-joins-blackout/" target="_hplink">the company said</a> on its blog. According to Imgur, users with paid accounts will not be affected.
Minecraft.net, along with www.mojang.com and www.playcobalt.com, will "close down" on January 18, according to a post on the Mojang website. "No sane person can be for SOPA," Markus "Notch" Persson, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/2012/01/12/notch-no-sane-person-can-be-for-sopa/" target="_hplink">the creator of Minecraft, said on Mojang.com</a>. "I don't know if we're sane, but we are strongly, uncompromisingly against SOPA, and any similar laws. Sacrificing freedom of speech for the benefit of corporate profit is abominable and disgusting."
<a href="http://www.minyanville.com/businessmarkets/articles/sopa-protect-ip-senate-hearings-ip/1/17/2012/id/38865" target="_hplink">According to Minyanville</a>, the Cheezburger Network of sites will go dark on January 18 to protest SOPA. Cheezburger network sites include The Daily What, Fail Blog and Know Your Meme.