It sounds like the name of a new alliance of superheroes. It even has its own bat signal (it's actually a CAT signal).
The newly-formed Internet Defense League has been created to essentially keep the Internet the way it is at this very moment. So the next time the government tries to pass legislation like the Stop Online Piracy Act or Protect IP Act (SOPA and PIPA), which drew lots of public criticism, the Internet Defense League can quickly send up its CAT signal, so to speak, across the web in order to mobilize the masses and let them know a fight is brewing and their help is needed.
"People who have a Twitter account and 30 followers can join and should join and people who have a YouTube channel and 10 followers can join and should join because we all have these parts of the Internet we want to protect," says Alexis Ohanian with the Internet Defense League. "If a group of folks identify a serious enough threat like SOPA or PIPA, then we can very quickly mobilize and send up the signal and say to everyone who signed up, 'Listen. Now's the time. We need you. Come help and do so in a way that's best for your community.'"
So far, organizations big and small have signed on, as have members of Congress from the left and right.
Whether you think the Internet Defense League stands for truth, justice and the American way, like a superhero, really depends on where you stand on the issues it supports. Regardless of your opinions, though, one thing you can probably appreciate is the potential of a system like this to give power to everyday people and put them on almost even footing with lobbyists in DC with loads of cash at their disposal.
"Money moves people fast," says Lance Ulanoff of Mashable.com. "Personal interest moves people fast as well. So if you let people know there's something they need to act upon that's in their personal interest, as quickly as the guy who handed some politician $1 million, you may start to get some parity.
To check out the organization and see if its values line up with yours, head over to www.InternetDefenseLeague.org.