In protest of a lawsuit against the file-sharing company LimeWire, the decentralized community of hacktivists known as “Anonymous” briefly knocked the website of Warner Bros. Records Inc. offline on Monday.
Warner Bros. Records and 12 other record companies are seeking $400 billion to $75 trillion in damages from LimeWire after the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) won a court battle with creators of the software over claims of copyright infringement.
The Warner Bros. Records’ website was targeted by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack Monday as part of an online campaign known as “Operation Payback.”
DDoS attacks flood the bandwidth or resources of a website’s server with meaningless traffic from multiple sources, slowing the website down and sometimes knocking it offline entirely.
Law.com reported that the recording companies told the court Section 504(c)(1) of the Copyright Act provided for damages for each instance of copyright infringement where two or more parties were liable.
Manhattan Federal District Court Judge Kimba Wood described the damages sought by the recording companies as “absurd.”
“If plaintiffs were able to pursue a statutory damage theory predicated on the number of direct infringers per work, defendants’ damages could reach into the trillions,” she noted. “As defendants note, plaintiffs are suggesting an award that is ‘more money than the entire music recording industry has made since Edison’s invention of the phonograph in 1877.'”
The copyright protection agency UK Copyright Service, known internationally as Copyright Witness, was knocked offline by those participating in “Operation Payback” last week. The company supports international copyright protection by providing independent evidence of originality and ownership in the event of any claims or disputes.
In addition to attacking recording companies and copyright protection agencies, “Operation Payback” has targeted the websites of a number of governments, including Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Yemen and Italy. In December 2010, those participating in the operation were successful in taking down Visa, Mastercard and other websites of organizations that refused to do business with secrets outlet WikiLeaks.