Two months ago we reported on the internet group "Anon" or "Anonymous" DDoSing the websites of the RIAA and MPAA in response to actions taken by the anti-piracy companies against pirates. Later, personal views were also given of the situation and what may happen as a result of this back and forth bickering. However, something rather unexpected has come to the surface regarding these issues. The FBI has decided to launch an investigation into the online protests of Anonymous.
RIAA and MPAA were just two of the organizations attacked by Anon, with others including Hustler magazine, Gene Simmons, The British Phonographic Industry all over their anti-piracy efforts. Most recently, Anon has targeted the Copyright Office and that is when the FBI started strongly gathering information from the victims and looking into the matters more.
The goal of Anonymous is to keep all information on the internet free and available to everyone, viewing copyright as a form of censorship. Many of the targets of the DDoS attacks did not hold much more than some information about their cause or organization. The Copyright Office however "maintains records of copyright ownership, issues copyrights, and assists the U.S. Congress in developing copyright policy," CNET reports. This is also an organization that is part of the Library of Congress, therefore being under the purview of the executive branch in the US government.
RIAA has had spokesmen come out and add their parts to the issue, most of which showing shock and disappointment with how people are just allowing this happen. Jonathan Lamy of the RIAA had this to say, "The silence here is deafening. Where's the outrage? Apparently, not all First Amendment free speech rights are created equal. At best, it's convenient indifference. At worst, it's quiet cheerleading." Another spokesman mentioned how the DDoS attacks show complete disreguard for the rights of the original creators of content, but complements the rights of those who pirate the content.
Whether DDoSing is aiding Anon's cause or even making a point is moot. Some may argue that this is actually hypocritical since Anon is censoring the internet from those who censor content. Others simply don't believe this is the way that the message should be spread. Founder of Techdirt, Mike Masnick, wrote that this isn't the way for Anon's message to be spread as they don't make a point exactly with simply DDoSing servers, and makes them come off as "a bunch unruly kids."
Aiding in DDoS attacks is a punishable act that can result in prison and fines. Now that the FBI is involved, more users who DDoS should get charged in a similar way that once authority got involved in the piracy scene there were spikes in users charged with fines. Perhaps this will have Anonymous seek alternative methods of getting their message out.