The MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America)’s website is live now, but it went down for a brief time alongside the websites for the US Department of Justice, Universal Music Group, RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), the US Copyright Office, BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.), and the French copyright enforcer HADOPI. The attack is thanks to Anonymous, who is taking credit and citing the shut down of Megaupload.com and the arrest of its founder, Kim Dotcom, and several other executives as the catalyst for its work here. [Time]
This comes in the wake of the SOPA Blackout and may prove that the fight for internet neutrality is just getting warmed up. The hack is, of course, hilarious (and it’s fun to imagine that they did it from phone booths while navigating through a visualization of a mainframe until they found a garbage file), but its effect was short-lived. A hassle for the MPAA and other agencies, but perhaps it’s just a shot across the bow, proving what the group is capable of. It’s just a prank, though, like signing the MPAA up on a sex-seeking site or convincing it that there’s a pool on the roof.
It’s a nice, chaotic gesture, but it’s time to organize such that it forces the MPAA to restructure in a way that’s far more transparent, meaningful, and productive. There’s a way to deliver content information to concerned parents without overstepping the boundaries of economic censorship, and it’s imperative that the public pressure the government to take a hard look at the agency so that its current incarnation can be offline permanently. Shutting a website down is clever, but how can we affect real structural change?