DOJ Website Downed After it Closed File-Sharing Site: Anonymous Takes Credit
The Department of Justice shut down one of the world’s largest file-sharing sites today, charging the founders of Megaupload.com with violating piracy laws. Anonymous, a hacker collective advocating for a free and open Internet, did not take kindly to this.
As of Thursday afternoon, the Department of Justice website (www.justice.gov) has not been functional. Gizmodo reports that this seems to be the result of a DDoS attack and states that its “easily the widest in scope we’ve seen in some time.”
The websites for the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), Universal Music Group and MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) are down as well.
Here are some tweets from some of Anonymous’ common Twitter handles revealing involvement:
RT reports that Anonymous member Barrett Brown said that the attack on these groups “was in retaliation for Megaupload”. RT has more on the sequence of events:
Less than an hour after the DoJ and Universal sites came down, the website for the RIAA, or Recording Industry Association of America, went offline as well.
Minutes later, MPAA.org also returned an error as Anonymous hacktivists managed to bring the website for the Motion Picture Association of America. The group, headed by former senator Chris Dodd, is an adamant supporter of both PIPA and SOPA legislation.
Universal Music Group, or UMG, is the largest record company in the United States and under its umbrella are the labels Interscope-Geffen-A&M, the Island Def Jam Motown Music Group and Mercury Records.
RT reports that Brown has said more will be coming, including “damage [to the] campaign raising abilities” of democrats who support SOPA.
The Justice Department said in a statement earlier today that Kim Dotcom, formerly known as Kim Schmitz, and three other executives were arrested Thursday in New Zealand at the request of U.S. officials. Two other defendants are at large.
An indictment accuses Megaupload.com of costing copyright holders more than $500 million in lost revenue from pirated films and other content. The indictment was unsealed one day after websites including Wikipedia and Craigslist shut down in protest of two congressional proposals intended to thwart online piracy.
Megaupload was unique not only because of its massive size and the volume of downloaded content, but also because it had high-profile support from celebrities, musicians and other content producers who are most often the victims of copyright infringement and piracy. Before the website was taken down, it contained endorsements from Kim Kardashian, Alicia Keys and Kanye West, among others.
The Hong Kong-based company listed Swizz Beatz, a musician who married Keys in 2010, as its CEO. He was not named in the indictment and declined to comment through a representative.
Before the site was taken down, it posted a statement saying allegations that it facilitated massive breaches of copyright laws were “grotesquely overblown.”
“The fact is that the vast majority of Mega’s Internet traffic is legitimate, and we are here to stay. If the content industry would like to take advantage of our popularity, we are happy to enter into a dialogue. We have some good ideas. Please get in touch,” the statement said.
The site boasted 150 million registered users who could download films, TV shows, games, music and other content for free, but made money by charging subscriptions to people who wanted access to faster download speeds or extra content. The website also sold advertising.
The indictment was returned in the Eastern District of Virginia, which claimed jurisdiction in part because some of the alleged pirated materials were hosted on leased servers in Ashburn, Va.
Dotcom, a resident of both Hong Kong and New Zealand, and a dual citizen of Finland and Germany, made more than $42 million from the conspiracy in 2010 alone, according to the indictment.
Dotcom is founder, former CEO and current chief innovation officer of Megaupload.
Stay tuned for more information on the Anonymous attack as it develops.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
- John McCain Lectures Tea Party Senator on How ‘Business’ Gets Done in Congress: ‘That’s What We’ve Been Doing for a Couple Hundred Years’ 501 Comments
- Pope Francis’ Sermon Sparks Debate: ‘Even the Atheists’ Have Been Redeemed ‘With the Blood of Christ’ 462 Comments
- Boy Scouts of America Vote to Allow Gay Members 458 Comments
- Anti-Gay Bias or Fair Punishment? New Details Emerge About High School Student’s Lesbian Relationship With a Minor 339 Comments
- Piers Morgan Bans Dana Loesch From His Show Following Twitter Spat: ‘Show Some Bloody Respect’ 323 Comments
- MSNBC Hosts Martin Bashir and Chris Hayes Claim London Machete Killers Aren’t Terrorists: ‘These Are Just Murderers’ 104 Comments
- Did You Catch the Possibly Policy-Changing Ft. Hood Reference in Obama’s Terror Speech? Read More
- Dem. Rep. Apologizes for Attending ‘Racist, Anti-Semitic and Homophobic’ Speech Read More
- Church vs. State Complaint Leads City to Remove Christian Crosses on Water Tower — Now See What They’ve Been Replaced With 193 Comments
- Faith-Healing Parents Charged With Murder for Refusing Kids’ Medical Care — Should They Go to Prison? 133 Comments
- Have You Had Scotch at a NJ TGI Friday’s Lately? You Might Have Been Drinking Rubbing Alcohol Read More
- Venezuelan President Blames Toilet Paper Shortage on the Rich Read More
- This Terrible Chart Shows the Change in Food Stamp Participation Over the Last 10 Years Read More
- Disney Makes Absolutely Mortifying Photoshop Mistake Read More
- Trey Gowdy at It Again — This Time with a Jack Bauer Reference! 116 Comments
- How 3D Printing Technology Created a Special Part for Baby’s Windpipe and Saved His Life Read More
- 6 Fascinating Spy Gadgets You’ll Probably Want (and Can Have) After Seeing Read More
- How Would a 3D-Printed Shotgun Slug Hold Up? Here’s the Test Read More
- The Incredible Role Facebook Played in the Aftermath of Devastating Okla. Tornado Read More
- Tech Company Demonstrates Remote Disabling of a ‘Smart Gun’ 130 Comments
- Venezuela to create new workers militia
- Ex-Guatemala president extradited to US
- 6 Wyeth paintings fetch $2M at NYC auction
- Jersey shore reopens for 1st post-Sandy summer
- Ruby says her sworn statements were lies
- Barrick fined $16m for Pascua-Lama violations
- Roger Federer, always at Grand Slam tournaments
- Some unions now angry about health care overhaul