No surprise here really, following its win in court against file-sharing website LimeWire last week, the website of the Recording Industry Association Of America went down on Friday after one of those very trendy Distributed Denial Of Service attacks, orchestrated by the online community behind the Operation Payback campaign, which has previously taken down the websites of various pro-copyright and/or anti-file-sharing organisations.
As previously reported, the US courts last week handed the RIAA the injunction it had long wanted that forced the Lime Group to stop distributing and supporting their file-sharing software. The injunction followed an earlier court ruling that said LimeWire and its founder Mark Gorton were liable for the copyright infringement their technology enabled. The US record industry is now preparing to demand billions in damages.
The Anonymous group of pro-file-sharing types proposed 4pm Friday New York time for launching the DDoS attack, though according to Slyck.com, the RIAA site actually went down earlier than that, possibly because some Operation Payback supporters started swamping the trade body’s site with traffic early, or because the RIAA’s IT people decided to pre-empt the attack and take the site offline themselves.
It’s not the first time the RIAA’s site has been hit by a DDoS attack, the organisatoin being something of an obvious target for such activity. And the Operation Payback movement has been rather active of late when it comes to taking the websites of organisations they don’t like offline. On one level such attacks are rather amusing, though on another – especially as they occur with increased frequency – they are also a little bit childish.
And while the RIAA possibly deserves such attention – we’ve probably criticised the US organisation more than anyone for its approach to tackling file-sharing over the last ten years – some other recent DDoS attacks have been less defensible.
As the UK’s Intellectual Property Office pointed out, when its site was recently attacked the DDoS brigade were basically depriving British citizens of access to information they have a democratic right to see, and – while Kiss man Gene Simmons’ recent comments about how the record industry should have sued every single file-sharer were clearly silly – by then taking his websites offline the Anonymous supporters were basically depriving him of his right to free of speech.
And given said campaigners would claim they are standing up for democracy and freedom of expression on the net, that seems rather hypocritical.