Hacktivist Group Anonymous Takes Down Government, Music Industry Websites

Computers Laptops iPads - H 2012
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Computers Laptops iPads - H 2012

Following the shutdown of Megaupload, the collective retaliated by shutting down websites for the RIAA, MPAA and the Department of Justice, just to name a few.

Minutes after U.S. authorities shut down file-sharing website Megaupload, hacktivist group Anonymous retaliated.

The online group Anonymous successfully hacked into the websites for the Department of Justice, RIAA, Motion Picture Association of America and Universal Music Group on Thursday. The websites for performing rights organization BMI and Warner Music Group were also taken down.

"It was in retaliation for Megaupload, as was the concurrent attack on Justice.org," Anonymous' Barrett Brown told RT.

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Late Thursday afternoon, the main page for the Universal Music website read, "The Site is under maintenance. Please expect it to be back shortly."

Though Megaupload.com is no longer in service, an offshoot of the website seems to have relaunched at a new address.

Earlier, federal agents shut down Megaupload, which represents 50 million daily visitors, and four people -- including founder Kim Dotcom -- linked to the website were arrested in New Zealand. According to an indictment, Megaupload makes more than $150 million in subscription fees and an additional $25 million in advertising. It is said that Dotcom made up to $42 million in 2010 alone.

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Before Megaupload was shut down, it issued a statement on its website, calling allegations that it broke copyright laws "grotesquely overblown," and adding, "The fact is that the vast majority of Mega’s Internet traffic is legitimate, and we are here to stay. If the content industry would like to take advantage of our popularity, we are happy to enter into a dialogue. We have some good ideas. Please get in touch."

Last month, Megaupload released a video featuring recording artists, actors and other celebrities seemingly endorsing the file-sharing platform. The video was removed from YouTube after a takedown notice was registered, leading Megaupload to sue Universal Music Group in open federal court.

In recent days, some Hollywood studios have reportedly been upset that the White House backed away from full-throated support of anti-piracy legislation they maintain is needed to crack down on "rogue" foreign websites. Following that announcement, several congressmen backed away from supporting anti-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA.

Eriq Gardner contributed to this report.