The Anonymous group has began attacking the websites of the Spanish Ministry of Culture and the General Society of Authors and Editors (SGAE), as part of its ongoing Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) campaign against anti-piracy organizations.
Anonymous is large a group of hacktivists claiming to fight back at morally questionable acts, but which sees no problem with using illegal means to get its own message across.
On September 17, the group began attacking recording and film industry associations, as well as other organizations involved in copyright lobbying.
Dubbed "Operation Payback," the whole campaign started after an Indian company called Aiplex Software bragged about DDoSing torrent sites on behalf of film studios.
So far, Anonymous has attacked the websites of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the Dutch Bescherming Rechten Entertainment Industrie Nederland (BREIN) and the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT).
The Ministry of Sound record label and several UK law firms practicing what is known as speculative invoicing have also been hit.
Aiplex has remained a primary target throughout the campaign and so far its website suffered an aggregated downtime of over seven days.
The attack against SGAE, the organization tasked with collecting royalty payments on behalf of Spanish musicians, composers and songwriters, was supposed to start at 12 AM local hour.
However, it seems that some members of the group went ahead and attacked its website before schedule, bringing it down easily. Because of this, mcu.es, the website of the Spanish Ministry of Culture, was selected as a second target.
Both sites are currently offline and Sgae.es already has a downtime of well over four hours. The group has released the following public statement regarding the attacks:
"Paying the government for digital media is ridiculous. The artist who makes music wants to be paid. Music labels want their fair share for producing, watchdogs want their share and thanks to the Spanish Ministry of Culture, the government assumes an additional profit.
"The result is an extraordinary high price for music, or a minimal fee for the artist (the one that should be rewarded instead!). The SGAE has as slogan 'Believe in culture,' while they restrict new creativity by preventing that creativity is shared.
"They lobbied this Canon Law, which states that suspected piracy websites can be taken down without a court order. This is a danger to freedom of speech, since any site can just be taken down with the excuse that intellectual property is hosted.
"The 'Ministerio of Cultura' should get a message that their current course will only lead to more controversy and protest."
Anonymous claims to have no leaders, but there are several people in charge of organizing and coordinating the attacks.
When they were asked in a recent Q&A session by Panda Security for how much longer they plan on attacking websites they said "We will keep going until we stop being angry."