Advocacy group deploys 'Internet bat signal' to protect open Web

The caped crusader returns to movie theatres this week, but Internet advocates today launched their own bat signal for the Web.

"The Internet Defense League is a network of people and sites who use their massive combined reach to defend the open Internet and make it better," the group said on its website.

Members of the League include Mozilla, Reddit, the Cheezburger network, WordPress, and more.

It's no coincidence that today's launch of the Internet Defense League (IDL) is happening on the same day that Batman fans will head to theatres for midnight viewings of The Dark Knight Rises.

"We are very happy to be sharing a launch date with Batman. Everyone who took part in defeating SOPA, PIPA & ACTA this year are legitimate real-life superheroes," IDL said.

In fact, IDL blasted its own "cat signal" in several cities on 19 July, paid for with crowd-sourced funds. "The spotlights will beam the IDL's 'cat-signal' into the stratosphere, across obliging clouds, or onto neighboring buildings," IDL said.

Batman gimmicks aside, what is the IDL? First announced in late May, the group is a consortium of open-Web advocates who have pledged to band together and fight any effort to stifle the Internet.

When the group detects a threat to the Internet - most likely via objectionable legislation - it will send supporters a snippet of code they can add to their website in order to organise the masses in protest.

Many of its members joined forces earlier this year to go after the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). Thanks to a joint Internet blackout, both bills were tabled, but other threats exist, according to organisers, like the pending CISPA legislation as well as ACTA overseas.