Roadside billboards claiming to have been paid for by “The Internet” went up in Texas this week, strategically placed to annoy Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), author of controversial Internet regulations that triggered the largest online protest in history earlier this year.
One of the signs, in San Antonio, is right outside Smith’s office. Another, in Austin, went up alongside Lamar Blvd. near downtown. Playing on the popular motto “Don’t mess with Texas,” the signs stamp “Don’t mess with the Internet” right in the center of a Texas flag.
“Paid for by: The Internet,” a note on the right explains.
The campaign was birthed by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and Erik Martin, the site’s general manager, who published a fundraising appeal on crowdtilt asking for support.
They got that support in droves, clearing their goal of $15,000 in just two days. Members of Reddit did the rest, coming up with the artwork and message.
But beyond just billboards designed to annoy a member of Congress, Ohanian and crew have also launched two new groups: Fight for the Future and The Internet Defense League, both aimed at fighting for Internet freedoms at a time when lawmakers from both parties appear keen on stripping them away.
“This is an election year, and we’ve got a lot planned,” a post on Fight for the Future explains. “Right now we’re scrambling to organize Senate constituent meetings to stop CISPA / Lieberman-Collins. The Internet Defense League is gearing up to build the network that stopped SOPA into an ongoing force for good.”
Editor’s note: The Raw Story’s management participated in the anti-SOPA protest.
Photo: Courtesy, Fight for the Future.