Hackers associated with Anonymous have hacked into the website of the German Society for Musical Performing and Mechanical Reproduction Rights (GEMA).When trying to access the website yesterday users were presented with a window similar to the one displayed by YouTube for videos removed for copyright infringement.
The window displayed the Anonymous logo and a message in German that read: "Unfortunately, this website is not available in Germany (and not only) because it corresponds to a company to which Anonymous has not granted the necessary rights. We're sorry. Not!" [approximate translation]
GEMA is the only organization in Germany that collects royalties on behalf of over a million local and foreign singers, composers, authors and music publishers.
Since the end of 2009, music videos from major label artists are not available to German YouTube users because the company did not agree to pay GEMA a high rate of 12 euro cents per streamed video.
This obviously makes it an enemy of anti-copyright and freedom of information activists like those affiliated with Anonymous. The notorious hacktivist collective has led a DDoS campaign against music rights and copyright organizations in 2010 that spanned over many months.
The group has since put its resources into fighting for other causes, but this attack shows that the core beliefs of its supporters have not changed and, in Anonymous' own words, they never forget.
The GEMA website is currently offline, probably undergoing a security review. The organization has not commented the hacking incident, but web defacements have been rather common recently.
Anonymous is usually involved in multiple operations at any given time, some coordinated by individual factions. However, there are also group-wide campaigns like the current Operation Anti-Security (Antisec) that targets government agencies and companies working with them.