MPAA down, RIAA next: An e-protest over piracy

MPAA down, RIAA next: An e-protest over piracy

Summary: 4chan members hit back at the MPAA and RIAA with a co-ordinated e-protest, knocking their sites offline for hours. Is this the protest of the future?


Anonymous members of 4chan launched a co-ordinated DDoS attack against the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America), protesting the anti-piracy efforts in force on the web.

One could argue the case that users were fighting fire with fire, after the managing director of Aiplex Software revealed that his company resorts to such measures against torrent sites when DMCA notices are ignored.

While the MPAA only took 8 minutes to crumble under the strain of the attack, the RIAA's site is still not loading as a result of 'Operation Payback'.

All it takes is a simple set of instructions to plug into a tiny downloadable application, set the community motion going and depending on the numbers, it can take minutes or even seconds to kick a site offline.

Whether or not you disagree with piracy, advocate it or are mindlessly indifferent, it is the method of protest that I find quite interesting. This is the protest of the future. As I've said before:

"A million people demonstrated in London in one day alone to oppose the war in Iraq. Nearly half a million people demonstrated in London in one day to oppose the ban on fox hunting. We still invaded Iraq, and fox hunting is still banned."

Traditional protests barely have an effect any more. Either people can't be bothered or the numbers between demonstrator and otherwise is at a great imbalance. With today's youthful folly of piracy and downloadable content, I suspect this could well be a means to an end, rather than the end to protests as a whole.

Taking to the streets is one thing, but being an activist from the comfort of your own home has proven to be an effective enough solution considering the MPAA and RIAA's downtime.

Though illegal in many countries, could co-ordinated denial of service attacks be the protest of the future?

Topics: Piracy, Enterprise Software, Security

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  • RE: MPAA down, RIAA next: An e-protest over piracy

    Yes, they very well could be. However, these 'protests' should be clamped down on and the people who do them arrested.

    I am all for 'protesting', but when you attack a legitimate site for no reason other than you dislike them? That goes way too far.
    • RE: MPAA down, RIAA next: An e-protest over piracy

      @Lerianis10 Well, just look at the UK over the last week. The Catholic Church is a legitimate organisation; it's leader is the head of a sovereign state - yet there were protests everywhere he went.
    • RE: MPAA down, RIAA next: An e-protest over piracy

      @Lerianis10 I feel you missed the point. The MPAA originally contracted a firm (Aiplex) to carry out an illegal DoS attack against the pirate bay. This attack is retaliation.

      Regardless of how you feel about the concept of eye for an eye, it would be a mistake to misrepresent the MPAA/RIAA as innocent victims in this.
      • RE: MPAA down, RIAA next: An e-protest over piracy

        @bfuoco You're right - MPAA/RIAA aren't innocent victims. And proper retaliation for Aiplex and MPAA's actions is prosecution under the Federal law forbidding DDOS attacks. It would, in addition, hurt them much more permanently than a retaliatory DDOS attack.
    • RE: MPAA down, RIAA next: An e-protest over piracy

      @Lerianis10, a traditional form of protest has been 'picketing', which is blocking access outside the entrance to a business or government office. It is a common form of protest.

      DDoSing is the same idea as picketing. It is a method of blocking access and restricting the workings of a business/government office in order to express dissent.

      DDoSing is simply a modern version of a very common protest tactic, and should be regarded as such.
      • RE: MPAA down, RIAA next: An e-protest over piracy

        @rudyderringer Picketing is also subject to legal controls - modern picketing is informational in nature, and not the obstruction of access to a business or government agency. When such obstruction occurs, the people doing the obstruction are arrested and charged. So your analysis is essentially correct - DDOS is the same as physically obstructive picketing and should be punished in the same way.
    • In my opinion

      @Lerianis10 <br><br>Both of these organizations deserve far worse than to have their sites kicked offline from a DDoS attack. <br><br>It's only a matter of time before your arrested or fined for just singing a song without having paid for it.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: MPAA down, RIAA next: An e-protest over piracy

        @Cylon Centurion 0005 We're already there. Many companies don't - can't - let you sing "Happy Birthday" at office parties - it's copyrighted.<br><br>And you're absolutely right - MPAA and RIAA deserve to go out of business for repeated callous and disproportionate legal bullying of ordinary citizens. Unfortunately, the supposed friends of the common man, the Democratic Party, have controlled Congress since 2006 and in that time RIAA and MPAA have gotten more - not fewer - repressive Federal laws enacted to do more of the same bullying. While Republicans controlled Congress, the same was true.<br><br>If the Tea Party and other third parties REALLY want to cement their hold on power in this country, they'll begin advocating for laws that make punishment of copyright infringment proportionate. Say, you ding Susie Housewife who downloads and uploads music $1/song for royalties, plus reasonable collection costs and civil penalties (say, $10-$20/song). That makes the worst abusers of torrent sites (and the hosts of such sites) pay more than people who didn't realize what they were doing. It also (RIAA and MPAA, please pay attention) makes the lobbying groups doing the suing seem less like soulless monsters. And if it were done consistently, not just to "make examples" of people, RIAA and MPAA might even recover their lost revenue to a greater extent than they're doing now.<br><br>Piracy IS wrong. So is barratry (the abuse of the legal system to harass individuals wrongly). In some states, barratry is even a criminal offense. Both problems must be addressed. The two major parties, unfortunately, have been bought off by RIAA and MPAA, not to mention being dominated by Big Law (the same trial lawyers' lobby that has helped place health care out of economic reach for so many). Time to explore other options for representation in Congress.
    • Prosecute? Sure


      If the MPAA, RIAA, Aiplex and others did in fact commission, orchestrate, or perpetrate a DDoS, then prosecution should happen so long as the organizers of the Anonymous attack and the executives, board members, and directors of the MPAA, Aiplex, RIAA, and others are treated the same and the same punishment is doled out to each.

      I suspect that Anonymouns (one or more?) might even be willing to sit in a jail for a year or two if they knew that the execs of the MPAA, RIAA, Aiplex, etc. were sitting elsewhere in jail as well.

      I don't believe in an eye for an eye, nor retaliation; however, I do not believe that society can survive well if there is no equal protection AND equal enforcement, investigation, prosecution and punishment under the law.

      Find out who did what on both sides, and lock them all up. Perhaps together so they can work things out.
      • RE: MPAA down, RIAA next: An e-protest over piracy

        @GabeFree I agree. I want to know where the US Department of Justice and Homeland Security were when Aiplex (and MPAA/RIAA, if they were complicit) was doing DDOS. These guys can spend billions suing Microsoft for being too successful, but they can't stir themselves to punish a clear-cut violation of Federal criminal law? What gives? I thought that "hope and change" at least involved corporations being dinged the same as people when they break the law in the same way.

        But don't hold your breath waiting for Anonymous & friends to shiv the MPAA board of directors in the prison shower. Rich guys go to Club Fed at Eglin AFB, poor guys still go to Atlanta and Joliet.
    • RE: MPAA down, RIAA next: An e-protest over piracy

      @Lerianis10 The MPAA and RIAA executives who authorize DOS attacks against torrent sites should be arrested then. If they want to arrest the protesters the corporate interests must be treated the same way.
    • RE: MPAA down, RIAA next: An e-protest over piracy

      @Lerianis10 I agree completely. There is absolutely nothing that certifies the pure intentions of DDOSers; I can see how this "method of protest" could be abused very easily for base motives. That's what Julian Assange's fan boys are doing right now to VISA, MasterCard and PayPal - punishing legitimate organizations because they don't want to be complicit in violations of US Federal law. It's not their fault that Assange and Co have abetted the criminal acts of a US Army private who made a decision way above his pay grade to publish half a million diplomatic cables.
  • It already happens

    @Cylon Centurion 0005

    Stores are routinely fined for playing radios where a customer might hear them (public performance of material). A lot of bars in my hometown have been cited for the songs performed on "open mic" nights. My kid's school now charges a fee for chorus/glee to pay ASCAP fees for the songs they sing in class.

    Making a living is one thing, but the MPAA, RIAA and ASCAP are making a killing.
    • RE: MPAA down, RIAA next: An e-protest over piracy


      Not only that, but artists make such a tiny percentile of the profit that some of them encourage piracy of their albums to protest the RIAA.
    • RE: MPAA down, RIAA next: An e-protest over piracy

      @AttackComputerWhiz Yup! I never thought I'd find myself agreeing with Richard Stallman, but "The Right To Read" is looking a bit more prophetic every month.
  • People should read about the history of music

    Payment for music was only provided at the time the material was performed live, or for the copy of a song (once writing and music notation became common); otherwise, a performer either learned the song on his own, or paid the first performer to teach it to him. Credit was sometimes given for the original song; but performers always modify works to suit themselves.

    It wasn't until the record industry arrived that the concept of royalties for each playing of a song arose.
    • RE: MPAA down, RIAA next: An e-protest over piracy

      @Dr_Zinj And a torrent of a song is a COPY, not a PLAYING. Like it or not, piracy does rob musicians. So do the members of the RIAA, with their endless jerking-off under the guise of R&A, marketing and distribution in the age of the Internet. $1/track fees for music give you $12 albums, still, but RIAA members now don't have to maintain the massive overhead of pressing CDs, paying for logistics to stores and relationships with millions of individual retailers. It sucks that we, the consumers didn't get some of those savings for our investment in computers and Internet bandwidth - we've basically assumed a large part of RIAA members' overhead voluntarily without demanding a share of their savings. Dumb us.

      The alternative is to reward musicians like Jonathan Coulton who distribute their music directly over the Internet; when enough musicians realize they can deal directly with their customers, they'll be willing to put RIAA out of business.

      Doing the same with MPAA is problematic; the "artist" in this case is a motion picture producer who has to sell an idea to big studios and/or big banks and raise millions in budget to compete in the video/film market. Plus, the movie theater market is still alive in a way that bricks n' mortar record stores are not. Eventually, as personal computers approximate the power of what Hollywood uses increasingly to make movies, this will change, but not within the next twenty years, I think. "Blair Witch Project" was a very small toe in that door. But it IS coming. As the Internet grows and replaces local distribution channels and people are happier with home widescreen video reproduction (or something better, like "direct to goggles," or even electronic stimulation of the brain's visual and auditory cortices as a video medium), MPAA will also go away.
  • Acts of terrorism committed against mobsters -- everyone wins!

    DDoS is, at the very least, an act of vandalism disguised as rebellion. Because there is a threat at the core, consisting of "stop this policy.... OR ELSE", it becomes an act of terrorism.

    Terrorism is wrong, and it is evil.

    Then you have the MPAA and RIAA, who are basically organized thugs who receive protection money from their members in exchange for sending their enforcers to legally extort money from innocent victims created by bad legislation.

    So.... acts of terrorism commited against mobsters?

    • RE: MPAA down, RIAA next: An e-protest over piracy

      @jparr Except that eventually DDOS perpetrators will find they're bringing knives to not a gunfight, but a coordinated air support and artillery volley by taking on MPAA and RIAA this way. Like it or not, these two organizations now have Homeland Security and the US Department of Justice as "their enforcers," and it's folly to think that DDOS won't be prosecuted just as stringently as hosting Torrent servers has been. You have to have an IP address to ping a site; your fingerprints are all over a DDOS attack. It doesn't hurt the Feds' feelings to prosecute a thousand DDOS participants at once - they get bigger appropriations from Congress that way, AND more repressive laws.

      DDOSers - go "help" someone else. Like the Nazis, or televangelists.
  • RE: MPAA down, RIAA next: An e-protest over piracy

    whats fair for the goose (MPAA, RIAA) is fair for the gander (protesters). If the MPAA and RIAA dont like it, then they shouldnt stir the pot.