Hacktivist group Anonymous is claiming responsibility for attacks that took down websites run by Universal Music, the US Department of Justice and the Recording Industry Association of America in retaliation for the US government's removal of the Megaupload websites.
"The government takes down Megaupload? 15 minutes later Anonymous takes down government and record label sites," the Anonymous Twitter feed read.
That note was followed shortly by this one: "Megaupload was taken down w/out SOPA being law. Now imagine what will happen if it passes. The internet as we know it will end. FIGHT BACK." The tweet referred to the Stop Online Piracy Act, an internet piracy bill being considered in the US Congress which a number of internet sites protested against earlier this week.
Megaupload.com distributed a variety of digital content, including music and movies. Yesterday, the US DOJ announced that it had charged seven people who allegedly were affiliated with the site with running an organised criminal enterprise responsible for worldwide online piracy of copyrighted content. The DOJ worked with authorities in New Zealand, who arrested four of the seven people.
Megaupload.com is no longer accessible.
The action happened just a day after thousands of websites went dark in protest of bills before Congress, including SOPA, that would make it easier for authorities to force ISPs to block people in the US from accessing foreign websites accused of offering pirated content. Opponents say the bills would let law enforcement shut down entire websites before the sites have been found by a court to infringe copyright.
By late evening in the UK yesterday, the people behind the Anonymous Twitter account had claimed responsibility for attacks affecting sites for the DOJ, RIAA, Universal Music, the US Copyright Office, Broadcast Music Inc. and the Motion Picture Association of America. They said that the FBI website was on its target list, although that site remained operational.