SOPA Opera

Feds Bust Megaupload, So Anonymous Hacks the DOJ, RIAA, MPAA, and Universal Music Group

You mess with the Internet, you get Anonymous.

Well now we know why we haven’t been able to access at the Department of Justice’s press release about its raid on Megaupload for the past few hours!

The websites for the U.S. Justice Department, the Recording Industry Association of America, Motion Picture Association of America, and Universal Music Group have all been down this afternoon. As TPMIdeaLab reports, hackers who associate themselves with Anonymous are taking credit. Twitter accounts like @YourAnonNews and @AnonOps claim the attacks are in retaliation for today’s shutdown and arrests related to the file sharing site Megaupload. Read More

SOPA Opera

Federal Prosecutors Shut Down File Sharing Site Megaupload for Piracy Violations

Mr. Schmitz from the "Mega Song" video

The Associated Press is reporting that federal prosecutors in Virginia have shut down, one of the world’s largest file-sharing sites. The indictment accuses the company’s founder and six others of violating piracy laws.

Earlier today, we reported confirmation from Swizz Beatz’s publicist that the recording artist is indeed Megaupload’s current CEO, but he did not found the company, which was started out of Hong Kong in 2005. [UPDATE: Megaupload’s lawyer now says Swizz Beatz was merely negotiating to be the CEO.] Kim Schmitz, a German entrepreneur and hacker, is the company’s founder.

Mr. Schmitz, whose aliases are listed as Kim Dotcom and Kim Tim Jim Vestor in the indictment, has run afoul of the law before. Authorities say Mr. Schmitz and three other suspects, including senior executives, are already in custody. Read More

SOPA Opera

PIPA Goes the Way of SOPA As Senators Rush to Distance Themselves


Ooh, ooh, ooh. What a little blackout (and 4.5 million signatures) can do for you! In the wake of unprecedented opposition yesterday, at least 26 Senators, including seven former co-sponsors have disavowed themselves from the Protect IP Act (PIPA). PIPA is the Senate’s version of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which had stalled out in the House under similar duress.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), one of PIPA’s former co-sponsors decided the bill was “simply not ready for prime time.”

Eighteen of the Senators now opposed are Republicans. Previously, as VentureBeat reports, PIPA had support from more than 40 Senators, who co-sponsored the bill. We’re currently having trouble accessing the OpenCongress site, however, earlier reports say the bill still had support from 33 senators, with a number of others who still have not made their position clear. Read More

SOPA Opera

New Yorkers: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Has Heard You on SOPA/PIPA, and She…Doesn’t Really Care?

Kirsten Gillibrand

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is a co-sponsor of PIPA, the sibling legislation for SOPA, the awful one that still contains the provision that would allow our government to shut down websites accused—not convicted of—but accused of copyright infringement. Today, there was quite a large protest outside of her office! 1,000 people and a bunch of Internet luminaries were there.

As it turns out, Sen. Gillibrand has heard the voice of the people! And as such, she has taken to her page on (the SOPA-opposed) Facebook to say… Read More

Blackout Day

Roundup of All the Cute Things the Internet Is Doing Today to Protest SOPA/PIPA

-Informative websites with clever names.
-Peer-to-peer SOPA/PIPA tutoring.
-Sympathy cards to Congress, for the death of the internet.
-Raising money for a lobbyist.
-The New York Tech Meetup emergency anti-SOPA/PIPA rally.
-Blackouts at Craigslist, Wikipedia and Reddit; opt-in blackout at Tumblr.
-Changing all our Twitter avatars!
-Animated Vimeos.
-LOLcats song.

What are we forgetting?

SOPA Opera

The Pirate Bay: Silly Congress, There Are Easy Workarounds to SOPA/PIPA


With blackout curtains shrouding the internet this morning, it’s hard not to think about what the web might look like if SOPA and PIPA passed. One company who isn’t sweating it? The Pirate Bay—yup, that’s right, the very site these laws were proposed to censor.

A Pirate Bay source told TorrentFreak that the company is concerned, but not about being shut down, “Of course we’re worried. Not so much for The Pirate Bay, as there are many workarounds, but for democratic reasons.” Indeed, via backup domains, alternative DNS-servers or proxy sites, both SOPA and PIPA can be circumvented, particularly since its advertising partners aren’t subject to U.S. laws. Read More

Blackout Day

Education Is the Web’s Anti-Drug! Meet

aaron harris

This is a guest post by Aaron Harris, CEO and co-founder of Tutorspree.

After finding myself explaining SOPA and PIPA to my parents and to my girlfriend over the weekend, I realized that, while the tech community has done a good job firing itself up – we have not done enough to educate people outside of our sphere. When it comes down to it, that constituency is the one you really need to sway Congress. If we stay within our own echo chamber we’ll lose to the force of the MPAA/RIAA and their associated lobbies. Read More

SOPA Opera

The Internet Needs Its Own Lobbyist: Kickstarter Clone Raising for Anti-SOPA Cause


Over the past two weeks,  staffers from HUGE, the Dumbo-based digital agency, have been at work on a different kind of interactive campaign. Yesterday around noon, a skunkworks team made up of software engineers, interaction designers, information architects, and more finally unleashed their side project on the world: a platform called We the Lobby that “makes the United States political system available to the 99% who can’t afford a lobbying group.”

“I put it up and I immediately went to sleep,” Sankho Mallik, a web developer and primary instigator for the site, which is unaffiliated with HUGE, told Betabeat.

We the Lobby works by allowing users to pool together micro-donations for political causes. As the accusation goes, Washington only listens to lobbyists, so why shouldn’t you get one of your own? Read More

The Medium and the Message

The Industry That Cried Pirate: How Hollywood’s Hyperbole Backfired


The tech startup industry, as fierce a meritocracy as any in this country, is full of Very Effective People. People who started their own companies, freelancers, people who build things. And those people also tend to be clever and idealistic and collaborative. Another thing the tech startup industry, largely built around the most superior medium of information known to man, is really good at? Communication. You’d think Hollywood would be good at that too. But when it came to the Stop Online Piracy Act (R.I.P.), it wasn’t even a fair fight. Read More

SOPA Opera

Congress Shelves SOPA After President Obama’s Involvement

Rep. Issa, Internet hero?

Detractors of the the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) may have reason to celebrate, albeit momentarily. According to Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-Rep.), an opponent of the bills,  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has assured him that SOPA will not move forward in Congress until “a consensus” has been reached.

Rep. Issa also said that a hearing regarding SOPA’s impact on cybersecurity scheduled for today has been postponed. On Friday, Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-Rep.), chief sponsor of SOPA, said he would take out a portion of the law that would allow the Justice Dept. to seek court orders requiring American ISPs to block subscriber access to foreign websites accused of infringing copyright, reports PC World.

Although Mr. Cantor’s camp has yet to issue a public statement, Rep. Issa, who is pushing for alternate legislation called the OPEN Act claims: Read More