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10 March 2011, 12:26

Anonymous now attacks the US music industry

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Another DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack has been mounted by the internet activist group Anonymous. Since around late afternoon GMT on Wednesday 9 March, the site of Broadcast Music Incorporated, (, a performing rights society in the USA, has been difficult to access. At the time of writing, Thursday morning GMT, the site is again inaccessible. Broadcast Music Incorporated is a not-for-proft corporation which collects licence fees on behalf of music publishers, composers and songwriters, distributing the resulting funds as royalties.

The BMI had posted an announcement on their site which explained that the site was subject to an attack which had only restricted external access to the site, and that the company had not been subject to any breach of security; no data had been accessed. The company pointed the finger at the activist group, stating that it believed the motive was "part of their misguided campaign to attack creative rights. The group has launched attacks on other agencies around the world representing creators in the past."

In an apparently authentic communication "An Open Letter To Broadcast Music, Inc.", posted on the web site, Anonymous claims responsibility for the attack, stating that "Too long have the music and cinema industries, among others, abused copyright for their own gain. Legislation serves to protect artists not the companies managing them and should never attempt to prevent the spread of creativity to the general public."

Anonymous has been grabbing attention recently for its support for WikiLeaks and the subsequent "Operation Payback", in which it mounted successful DDoS attacks on the web sites of Mastercard, Switzerland's Postfinanz bank, and the Swedish state prosecutor. Visa's web site was also attacked. More recently, Anonymous compromised the web site of security firm HBGary, taking and then publishing thousands of emails, containing revelations that led to the resignation of the CEO of HBGary Federal, Aaron Barr.

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