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Anonymous targets FBI and more after Megaupload arrests

Anonymous has brought down the FBI and music and movie industry websites in response to anti-piracy raids on file-sharing site Megaupload.

Anonymous has brought down the websites of FBI and several music and movie groups in response to a slew of anti-piracy raids on file-sharing site Megaupload.

The hacker collective targeted law enforcement and music industry websites after arrests were made around the world on charges of copyright infringement, just a day after controversial anti-piracy laws SOPA and PIPA were thrown out by US lawmakers.

The people behind Megaupload have been charged with violating piracy laws by allowing the site to be used for the sharing of copyrighted music and movies. Oh, and money laundering, apparently.

Hacker collective Anonymous responded by crashing the websites of the FBI, US Justice Department, US Copyright Office, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association Of America and record label Universal. With its site down, the MPAA has been releasing statements as Twitpics on Twitter.

Anonymous has also targeted anti-piracy institutions outside the US, bringing down the site for French law HADOPI

Megaupload lets you upload any file and then share it with a direct link to download the file. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but US bobbies claim Megaupload paid users uploading copyrighted content and publicised other sites that linked to the pirated material.

Although the music industry clearly isn't keen on Megaupload, it's been backed by a range of big-name artists. Displaying either a shameless willingness to lipsync to promotional videos or a shocking naivety, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Will.I.Am, Kim Kardashian, Jamie Foxx, Chris Brown, Puff Diddy Daddy and Macy Gray all appeared in a video for the Megaupload Mega Song.

Megaupload is no tin-pot operation: more than 20 search warrants have been carried out in 9 countries and around £32m in assets seized. Megaupload boss Kim Dotcom -- possibly not his real name -- was arrested in New Zealand along with other employees.

Anonymous responded with #OpMegaUpload, overwhelming targeted sites with distributed denial of service attacks -- and more ominously, tricking regular Internet users into joining in with malicious links on Twitter.

Both sides of the law are flexing their muscles the day after proposed anti-piracy laws SOPA and PIPA were killed off by US lawmakers in the wake of an unprecedented groundswell of peaceful protest across the Internet this week.

With SOPA defeated and both sides stepping up their attacks, is the war on piracy moving into a new phase of all-out war? Tell us your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.