Megaupload rises again as Anonymous knocks out SOPA supporters' sites

Fast reactions to the shutdown of Megaupload serve as a stark reminder of how tough it will be to fight online piracy

In the wake of today's shutdown of content-sharing site Megaupload for alleged copyright infringement, hacker group Anonymous has taken credit for knocking out the websites of the U.S. Department of Justice, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Warner Music Group, BMI, and Universal Music, all supporters of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) now being considered by Congress -- while crowing that the Megaupload service is up and running via a new website.

This flurry of events stands in stark contrast to yesterday's relatively quiet yet effective protest of SOPA and demonstrates just how significant a challenge supporters of antipiracy legislation face: They need to contend with behemoths such as Google and Wikipedia that are capable of generating enough sympathy for their cause to worry politicians, while also contending with Internet denizens who can quickly launch disruptive Web-based attacks. Add in the fact that sites such as Megaupload can be resurrected quickly, making them all the more difficult to shut down permanently.

Earlier in the day, the FBI and the Justice Department announced that seven individuals and two corporations had been charged with running an international organized criminal enterprise allegedly responsible for online piracy of numerous types of copyrighted works -- from movies and music to e-books and software -- through and others sites. Megaupload purports to have more than 1 billion visits to the site, more than 150 million registered users, and 50 million daily visitors. The site accounts for 4 percent of the total traffic on the Internet, according to the release.

Hacker group Anonymous reacted swiftly to the news, knocking out several websites using denial-of-service attacks and taking credit via Twitter. "The government takes down Megaupload? 15 minutes later Anonymous takes down government and record label sites," the Anonymous tweet read.

The group also tweeted a note in opposition of SOPA: "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."

Further stymying the efforts of the FBI and the Justice Department, a new website for the Megaupload service is reportedly up and running, according to an Anonymous tweet: "✹BREAKING✹ -- MEGAUPLOAD IS BACK, NEW #MEGAUPLOADSITE --"

This story, "Megaupload rises again as Anonymous knocks out SOPA supporters' sites," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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