Retaliatory Attack Takes Down MPAA Site. Whose Side Are You On?

mpaa site taken down

Earlier this month, a company in India claimed that it had been hired by the movie industry to launch cyber attacks on sites that hosted torrents to pirated movies. The company, Aiplex Software, promised denial of service attacks on those sites that ignored infringement notices (the company has since backed off of these claims).

It didn’t take long for Aiplex to end up with egg on its face. A loose group of internet community users, known as “Anonymous,” responded with denial of service attacks against the websites of Aiplex, the RIAA, and the MPAA. The attacks started Friday, and went into Saturday. Even today, the sites were slow to respond, although it is unclear whether that was due to attacks, or due to traffic generated from news of the attacks.

These attacks raise some bigger questions. Should legitimate trade groups engage in rogue behavior, like denial of service attacks? Do the ends justify the means?

And will the attacks by Anonymous do more harm than good? While most of us aren’t thrilled with DRM and copy protection, could attacks like these lead to even greater government involvement in the war on piracy? With the way that the entertainment industry has bought our government, at least here in the U.S., it isn’t hard to envision attacks like this making things worse.

Of course, the biggest question of all might be whether attacking a few sites that nobody visits really even matters in the long run.

What do you think? Who is in the wrong here?

Evan Kline

Hello, I'm Evan. I write about tech from my perspective – that of the average 40-something tech geek. You can also find me on Twitter and at my real-life job as a lawyer.    MORE ABOUT ME.


  1. I think that, if the movie/music industry want people to take their “plight” seriously, they should be taking the high road. The high road may be a bit difficult for the entertainment giants to come by though — it’s not really natural to them… Ask any actor or musician.

    As for the other guys — they’re morons. I’m sure they thought they were standing for something (or they just thought they were having a good laugh) but they accomplished nothing. The situation isn’t going to change. The MPAA isn’t scared of them. The entire exercise was pointless self-gratification.

  2. _If_ it was Anonymous.

    They recently pissed off the Tea Party, using similar tactics. Remember the Digg voting scam? They ain’t stupid.

    Anonymous, unfortunately, are the big bad “hackers” that spur the old men to action. Thanks guys. The internet is the greatest gift we’ve given ourselves since anesthetic, but soon it’s going to be like T.V. The M.P.A.A. will lobby, all our governments and no government on earth will fail to take action when their monopoly on punitive action is threatened.

    Seems that there should be 2 trials though hmm? This company paid foreign nationals to attack American internet infrastructure? Patriot Act is still around…

    • That’s my biggest concerns – that this will only serve to make things tougher in the long run. If stuff like these attacks continues, we could see more onerous government intervention in this battle, making it worse for all of us. While I do believe that artists deserve to be compensated for their work, this didn’t accomplish anything. (And it is probably debatable who steals more from the artists – file thieves, or the industry itself).

  3. “Should legitimate trade groups engage in rogue behavior, like denial of service attacks? Do the ends justify the means?”

    Uh, isn’t this actually illegal? In which case I’d say legitimate trade groups (or any other group) shouldn’t be engaging in this behavior.

    If you steal $5 from me, I can’t slash your tires and say “well, Evan stole $5 from me” as a defense – vandalism is still illegal.

    • In many countries, it is illegal. I think the initial story broke in Australia (where it is illegal), although I don’t think Aiplex claimed to have done it there. My recollection is that they were bragging about it, and saying that they were for sale there, too, if the government would let them. That’s just my recollection, though.

Leave a Reply