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

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?
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor on

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?

Editorial standards