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Anonymous Retaliates For Megaupload Raids: 10 Key Facts

Hacktivists launch DDoS attacks on FBI, Justice Department, music and movie producers, in part using disguised links that trick people into assisting the assault.
4. Anonymous links launch auto-attacks. Unlike past attacks, with "OpMegaUpload" Anonymous appears to have not just relied on willing volunteers. "This time, things are slightly different: you only have to click on a Web link to launch a DDoS attack," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, in a blog post. He said many of these links--which point to pastehtml.com--had been circulating in disguised form via Twitter, and warned that clicking on said links would execute a DDoS attack (which are illegal), unless JavaScript was disabled in the browser.

5. Megaupload was mega-popular. The Justice Department, in its indictment, claimed that traffic to Megaupload and its sister sites--50 million visitors daily, on average--accounted for 4% of all Internet traffic. Statistics from Google AdSense, meanwhile, put the average number of daily visitors to Megaupload, over the past year, at about 6 million, and said the site's traffic accounted for about 1.4% of all Internet traffic. By either measure, then, Megaupload was one of the most popular sites on the Internet.

6. Indictment hinged on Virginia servers. Given the push by the RIAA and MPAA for SOPA and PIPA to target rogue foreign websites hosting pirated content, does the DOJ's indictment signal that such legislation isn't necessary? In fact, the DOJ was able to claim jurisdiction only because some of Megaupload's servers were based in Virginia.

7. Copyright enforcers signal elation. The RIAA Thursday issued a statement saying the indictment--and the alleged charges--demonstrated "a sinister scheme to generate massive profits through the distribution of the stolen intellectual property of others." The RIAA labeled the related raids as "a historic blow against one of the most notorious illegal distribution hubs in the world," and plugged SOPA and PIPA as a way to continue the press, saying that "if this service were hosted and operated, for example, in a foreign country, our government would be essentially powerless to do anything about it."

8. Executives dismiss allegations. After the federal indictment was unsealed, however, a lawyer for Megaupload characterized the action as "a civil case in disguise," and said the company would "vigorously" defend itself, reported the Guardian.

9. Feds captured conversations. But Megaupload's defense could be complicated by the federal indictment, which cites emails in which executives reported searching their own service for copies of Sopranos episodes. Meanwhile, two joked that "we have a funny business ... modern days pirates :)" in a chat transcript quoted in the indictment.

10. Filesharing remains highly politicized. Megaupload was a self-described "online storage and file delivery service," more commonly labeled as a "media file locker" by users. Critics, on the other hand, often derided it as an "illegal distribution hub." A decade after the death of Napster, that variation in language highlights the political debate that continues to underpin not just the Megaupload story, but broader questions of copyright protection and Internet freedom.

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