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Last picture show? Movie site attacked

Web site for the Motion Pictures Association of America - at the centre of the DVD movie decryption storm - is suffering intermittent outages, and the group suspects computer vandals

The Web site for the Motion Pictures Association of America is currently suffering intermittent outages, and the organisation suspects computer vandals are to blame, MSNBC has learned.

A source inside the organisation who asked not to be identified told MSNBC that the MPAA is currently "experiencing problems with our public Web site, and we suspect a Denial-of-Service attack." The attack was first rumoured on HackerNews.com, a Web site for computer hackers.

The source at the MPAA would not comment on how long the site had been struggling, or why a Denial-of-Service attack was suspected. But the site was completely inaccessible at noon PDT on Thursday, and in its report of the rumour, HackerNews.com said the Web site had been offline for about 24 hours. The news service also predicted other sites connected to the MPAA would come under attack in coming days.

The MPAA is at the centre of a brewing Internet controversy over decryption of DVD movies. Last year independent computer scientists discovered how to crack the encryption that prevents consumers from copying DVD movies. The MPAA has since been working to remove that information from public Web sites.

It sued Eric Corley and his company, 2600 Enterprises, after the information was published on Corley's site. On January 20 the MPAA won an injunction against Corley and two other sites, prohibiting them from posting the software. But it is still available on hundreds of other Web sites.

The outage at MPAA.org is reminiscent of the massive attacks that took down Yahoo, Amazon and several other top Web sites in February.

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