One day after a massive online protest caused many legislators to withdraw support for SOPA/PIPA, the Department of Justice launched a shutdown of the popular site Megaupload. Coordinating with other authorities in New Zealand, the founder, Kim Dotcom and several others were arrested. The site, which has 150 million registered users and nearly 50 million visits daily, allows users to upload files which can then be downloaded by others. While most of it’s traffic is for legitimate use, there are illegal music and movie downloads available. Many downloads on our own site, tabletroms.com, were available through megaupload. The indictment claims the site cost nearly $500 million to lost revenue for copyright holders yearly. By having some of it’s servers in Virginia, this gave the DOJ jurisdiction to take action.
The timing of this action does seem to be a little strange, as if the government is trying to send a message that they can shut down sites without SOPA/PIPA. Well, it turns out they’re not the only ones who can shut sites down. Within minutes of the DOJ’s public statement about Megaupload, the DOJ’s site went down. It was quickly followed by the US and French copyright office sites, as well as the FBI, MPAA, RIAA, and several others. Anonymous, the hacker group, launched a denial of service attack which knocked out all the sites. This is accomplished with the Low Orbit Ion Cannon, an application which stress tests networks. Anonymous claims over 5,000 computers were involved in the latest attack, overwhelming the targeted sites. While the retaliation was successful, it is only a temporary measure, and those affected sites will be up shortly. But Megaupload is, for now, down for the count.