Megaupload site takedown sparks Anonymous action

Yesterday's shutdown of the Megaupload file storage website, and the arrest of four of its founders in New Zealand, illustrates how a global Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) may be facilitating coordinated multinational clampdowns on alleged digital content piracy.

The move, led by the FBI, comes just a day after huge protests on the internet against SOPA - controversial US legislation designed to stop online piracy.

Megaupload allowed users to upload and store large files to make them easily downloaded by others, without using sophisticated peer-to-peer software. But the FBI alleges it was posting "movies, music, TV programmes, ebooks and business and entertainment software on a massive scale" - allegedly costing copyright owners $500 million in lost sales.

The Megaupload shutdown brought a rapid response from the hacktivist sector. Anonymous directed its denial-of-service attack weapon, the Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC), at the US Department of Justice, plus major-league copyright owners like movie studios, recording companies and their respective copyright protection arms, the MPAA and RIAA. Unusually, it used a new trick that harnessed Twitter users to amplify the LOIC's effects.


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