HACKTIVIST GROUP Anonymous reacted quickly to the US led shut down of Megaupload and started hitting targets in revenge within minutes.
Last night the US Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced that seven people associated with Megaupload have been charged with money laundering, racketeering and copyright infringement.
Megaupload claims to have more than 100 million registered users, 45 million unique visitors daily and more than 70 per cent of the world's Fortune 500 companies as account holders.
The US feds estimate that the web site has generated $175m in criminal proceeds and cost the entertainment industry $500m. Those arrested each face up to 20 years in prison for their parts in turning the entertainment industry into a third world beggar struggling to survive. Oh, hang on.
The news follows protests against the US Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) and could be a case of the US government flexing its muscles in the face of opposition using the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. Anyway, the opposition has not taken it too well.
Loz Kaye, head of the UK Pirate Party, which stood in opposition to the US bills tweeted, "The Pirate Party UK and I are alarmed at the US's continued efforts to enforce its excessive and unpopular copyright legislation outside of the USA."
"US authorities claim that the timing of this move was in no way designed to coincide with the current popular backlash against excessive 'anti-piracy' legislation being pushed in the USA, such as SOPA and PIPA. I see it as a shot across the bows of a growing popular movement."
The shutdown woke the Anonymous beast too, and almost immediately plans for revenge were put into motion. "Expect us," said a short message from the @Anon_central Twitter account. "Oh noes! http://www.justice.gov seems to be down :( #Megaupload #SOPA #PIPA Expect more! #Anonymous," it added shortly after.
"Tango down: http://www.fbi.gov for taking down #Megaupload.com Payback's a bitch! Expect more! #Anonymous," followed that, and Universal Music, that.
A statement posted to Pastebin by an account called @Anonymouswik warned the US government to prepare for a large attack.
"We Anonymous are launching our largest attack ever on government and music industry sites. Lulz," it says. "The FBI didn't think they would get away with this did they? They should have expected us."
There the hackers list all of the web sites that have been or are being targeted, and these include universalmusic.com, riaa.org, mpaa.org, copyright.gov and the aforementioned US Department of Justice and FBI web sites. It also provides basic documentation on the head of the MPAA including personal information like his home address.
A video posted to Youtube echoes the same sentiments. "Our Power is too strong and soon they will have to listen to the people. This is a time of action. We as a nation must come together and fight the tyrants! Do not sit and watch Do not sit and cheer! Use your powers," it says.
"Artists be creative, Singers be lyrical, writers spread our word! We will not be silenced! We are Anonymous! We are legion! We do not Forgive! We do not forget! Expect Us!" µ