The U.S. Justice Dept and the FBI orchestrated raids in 9 different countries! Megaupload is being treated as a criminal enterprise. A lawyer representing the head of Megaupload insists this is a civil matter, and the U.S. government has gone overboard.
Steven T. Shelton, a copyright lawyer at the Cozen O’Connor firm in New York, said he expects to see the government engage in more of this sort of “enforcement” in the future. “I think we’ll be seeing more of this,” he said. “This is just the beginning.”
Anonymous responded very quickly with a huge number of DDoD attacks. Websites hit included:
- US Dept of Justice
- Universal Music Group
- US Copyright Office
- and French copyright authority HADOPI
A doc was made available via pastebin that includes a statement from Anonymous on today’s attacks. It also includes addresses for Motion Picture Association of America’s various corporate offices, and personal info of MPAA CEO Chris Dodd.
Which I suppose I had better not link to Screw it. Sam Biddle at Gizmodo linked to it already, so: http://pastebin.com/WEydcBVV
UPDATES follow original post
The Justice Department has issued a statement about its takedown of file-sharing site Megaupload. According to their statement, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, and three other Megaupload execs were arrested today in New Zealand.
The arrest was made at the request of U.S. officials. Prosecutors said three other Megaupload defendants are still “at large.”
“This action is among the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States,” the Justice department boasts in a statement about the indictment. A copy of the Justice Dept’s statement has been uploaded to a Pastbin, for your reading … pleasure? Displeasure? Anyhoo…
FOX News is reporting: “Federal prosecutors have shut down one of the world’s largest file-sharing sites, Megaupload.com, on charges of violating piracy laws — a day after a 24-hour blackout of popular websites such as Wikipedia drew national attention to the issue.”
An AP story similarly reports: “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.”
This news comes about a month after Judge Margaret Morrow sentenced Gilberto Sanchez to a full year in jailfor uploading the “workprint” copy of the movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Two-Disc Ultimate Edition) [Blu-ray]to Megaupload.
As you may recall, Judge Morrow called Sanchez’s crime “very serious.”
I’m sure employees of the Justice Department are rejoicing at the take-down of Megaupload. And, son-of-a-bitch, they did this without either SOPA or PIPA! Can you believe it?
Update: U.S. orchestrated raids in 9 different countries!
“Seven executives charged as filesharing site shut down over accusations they cheated copyright holders out of $500m,” reads The Guardian. “Kim Schmitz, is accused of heading up a criminal venture that earn Dotcom and his associates upwards of $175m.”
Schmitz, who goes by the alias “Kim Dotcom,” is founder of the online firm. To reiterate, the founder of the website is being called the head of “a criminal venture” by the U.S. government. They are being accused of racketeering, money laundering, and presiding over “massive” online piracy.
If found guilty of the charges, the accused Megaupload executives could face 50 years behind bars.
According to a Department of Justice release, available at the above link, seven people associated with Megaupload were indicted by a federal grand jury earlier this month over the charges. Raids took place in 9 different countries, on behalf of US law enforcement.
From The Guardian:
Alongside Dotcom, law enforcement officials swooped on a number of other senior members of Megaupload’s staff.
Arrests were made at a number of homes in Auckland, New Zealand, on warrants issued by US authorities.
In all, addresses in nine countries including the US were raided as part of massive international operation.
Three men accused alongside Dotcom remained on the run tonight, the Department of Justice said.
About $50m dollars in assets were seized as part of the massive operation.
Meanwhile, the Megaupload website was closed down, with the FBI seizing an additional 18 domain names associated with the alleged crime.
Ira Rothken, an attorney for Megaupload, said the firm would fight the “erroneous” charges.
Speaking from his California office, Rothken said: “The allegations appear to be incorrect and the law does not support the charges.”
He added: “It is a civil case in disguise.”
Asked why it was being pursued as a criminal case, Rothken replied: “You’d have to ask the prosecutors.”
An interesting bit from an AP story:
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 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.
Update: Swift Response From Anonymous
More, from the AP:
Steven T. Shelton, a copyright lawyer at the Cozen O’Connor firm in New York, said opponents of the legislation are worried the proposals lessen the burden for the government to target a wide variety of websites. Shelton said he expects to see the government engage in more enforcement in the future, as technology makes it easier to catch and target suspected pirates.
“I think we’ll be seeing more of this,” he said. “This is just the beginning.”
The AP is also reporting Anonymous is claiming credit for attacking the Justice Department’s website.
“The Department of Justice web server hosting justice.gov is currently experiencing a significant increase in activity, resulting in a degradation in service,” the agency said in a statement. “The Department is working to ensure the website is available while we investigate the origins of this activity, which is being treated as a malicious act until we can fully identify the root cause of the disruption.”
A spokesman for the Motion Picture Association of America said in an emailed statement Thursday that the group’s site had been hacked. “The motion picture and television industry has always been a strong supporter of free speech,” the spokesman said. “We strongly condemn any attempts to silence any groups or individuals.”
Gizmodo has been keeping tabs on the action: “Anonymous Goes on Megaupload Revenge Spree: DoJ, RIAA, MPAA, and Universal Music All Offline”
Here’s a brief rundown of Anon’s attacks, from Gizmodo’s post (full post at the link):
DownForEveryoneOrJustMe.com is reporting the department’s site as universally nuked, and an Anonymous-affiliated Twitter account is boasting success.
The combination of the hacking nebula’s SOPA animosity—they’ve been a vocal opponent of the bill since its inception—combined with today’s sudden Megaupload news has made the group bubble over: hundreds upon hundreds of Anon operatives are in a plotting frenzy, chatting about which site will go down next.
Update: Anonymous says they’ve also knocked off the RIAA’s site—looks down for us at the moment as well.
Update 2: Universal Music Group has also fallen off an e-cliff.
Update 3: Goodbye for now, MPAA.org.
Update 4: Affected sites are bouncing in and out of life, and are at the very least super slow to load. Anon agents are currently trying to coordinate their DDoS attacks in the same direction via IRC.
Update 5: The US Copyright Office joins the list.
Update 7: Russian news service RT claims this is the largest coordinated attack in Anonymous’ history—over 5,600 DDoS zealots blasting at once.
Update 8: the Anonymous DDoS planning committee is chittering so quickly, it’s making my laptop fan spin.
Update 9: Major record label EMI is down for the count.
Update 10: La résistance est international—French copyright authority HADOPI bites the dust under Anon pressure.
Update 11: The Federal Bureau of Investigation has fallen and can’t get up.
UPDATE: Anonymous has released a statement about today’s hacks
A statement has been uploaded to a Pastebin.
It includes addresses and personal information of MPAA CEO Chris Dodd, including personal home addresses, party affiliation (Democrat Party), and more. He’s being particularly singled out, because he’s been lobbying hard for SOPA/PIPA.
Dodd was pretty outspoken against the #SopaStrike blackouts earlier this week,saying that participants were being turned into “corporate pawns.” Ya, “corporate pawns.” Did I mention that the former senator is the CEO of the MPAA?
The Pastbin file also includes addresses for Motion Picture Association of America’s various corporate offices, and includes the following:
January 19th, 2012
Popular file-sharing website megaupload.com gets shutdown by U.S Justice – FBI and charged its founder with violating piracy laws. Four Megaupload members were also arrested. The FBI released a press release on its website which you can view here:
We Anonymous are launching our largest attack ever on government and music industry sites. Lulz. The FBI didn’t think they would get away with this did they? They should have expected us.
UPDATE: “More is coming …”
The Russian news site RT have some statements made to them by an Anonymous “operative,” giving some hints about what’s to come. Revealing personal contact info from former Democrat Senator Chris Dodd was just the beginning.
“It was in retaliation for Megaupload, as was the concurrent attack on Justice.org,” Anonymous operative Barrett Brown tells RT on Thursday afternoon.
Brown adds that “more is coming” and Anonymous-aligned hacktivists are pursuing a joint effort with others to “damage campaign raising abilities of remaining Democrats who support SOPA.”
Although many members of Congress have just this week changed their stance on the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, the raid on Megaupload Thursday proved that the feds don’t need SOPA or its sister legislation, PIPA, in order to pose a blow to the Web.
Brown adds that operatives involved in the project will use an “experimental campaign” and search engine optimization techniques “whereby to forever saddle some of these congressmen with their record on this issue.”