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DoS attack crashes Spain's copyright protection website

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October 7, 2010

Spain's copyright protection organization (SGAE) came under attack by hackers from Anonymous today as part of the latest move in a high-profile campaign against organizations that try to bully file-sharers.

A DoS (denial of service attac) was officially launched at midnight today and crashed the organisation's Web site even before it even officially launched. The assault is a repeat of tactics previously used against the websites of RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), the Motion Picture Association of America and U.K. law firm ACS-Law, among others.

Spanish Internet security firm Panda estimates that about 200 residents in Spain are among the 700 protesters flooding the website with useless traffic, much of it generated using LOIC (Low Orbit Ion Cannon) DDoS software.

As of 9.13 AM EST this morning, the site was still down and unresponsive.

Another Spanish entertainment industry site is also down as a result of the same traffic flooding tactics.

The group, which traces its origins back to the notorious 4chan image board, is running the ongoing Operation "Payback: is a bitch" in response to legal threats towards BitTorrent tracker sites such as The Pirate Bay as well as individual file-sharers.

The loosely organized group justifies its DoS tactics against targeted websites by saying they are the same as those earlier adopted by an Indian firm hired by the "Bollywood" film industry.

Luis Corrons, technical director of Panda Labs says "We have been in contact with SGAE to advise them of the proposed attack. The way things are progressing now, it will be no surprise to see cyber protests, managed country by country and targeting various copyright protection associations similar to the SGAE."

So far, Panda Security is tracking the progress of the DoS attacks fairly closely, as well as the amount of downtime of targeted sites. The situation could take a day or two before there could be some let back on the part of the attackers, however.

The newswire says that the Anonymous cyber-activist group – operating via the 4Chan portal – called its DoS attack operation payback and claims that the attack is one of several the group has staged in recent weeks. It also said to expect more of the same in the next week.

Spain's International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) recommends that Spain remain on the "Special 301 Watch List" in 2010, and that an out-of-cycle review be conducted later this year. More active leadership by the Spanish government is needed on all fronts to address the dire piracy situation harming many of the content sectors in Spain.

Effective action to combat the theft of creative content serves to enforce the rule of law, defend Spain’s cultural heritage, and expand economic opportunities. While national and municipal police and prosecutors in Spain have made efforts against street piracy, Internet piracy continues unabated. Effectively addressing Internet piracy is a priority for both the U.S. and Spanish creative industries.

The government’s actions taken thus far on the Internet piracy issue address only part of Spain’s online piracy problem. For many of the copyright industries, Spain is among the worst-performing markets in the world, and has suffered greatly from an online piracy problem that is spiraling out of control.

Contributing to Spain’s high piracy levels are the government’s policies that decriminalize illegal downloading of content distributed via peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing (as reflected in the 2006 Circular issued by the Attorney General), and its failure to meet the minimum EU-level requirements regarding liability for Internet service providers (ISPs) under the E-Commerce Directive.

As a result of the legal uncertainties, the police refuse to take Internet enforcement actions, and the Attorney General’s circular instruction dismissal of current criminal cases against illegal portal and link sites remains in force.

Moreover, the inadequate legal and regulatory structure in Spain has led to a failure in the negotiations between rights holders and the ISP community to find ways to prevent infringing content from being distributed over the ISPs’ services and/or networks, given the lack of incentives on the part of the ISPs to reach any reasonable agreement.

Enforcement authorities in Spain are taking action against street piracy involving physical goods and are working on actions against organized syndicate connections. But pirate product remains fairly ubiquitous, and circumvention devices that enable use of illegally copied games still remain widely available.

The predominant piracy problem for the business software sector in Spain is persistent organizational end-user software piracy and, in this regard, the industry remains concerned about the availability, cost and speed of civil enforcement measures such as problems associated with expensive bonds and low damages.

This sector reports good cooperation with the Ministry of Industry on efforts, including public awareness work, to halt end user piracy in corporate settings.

There were two encouraging developments at the end of last year. First, the Spanish Government set up a new Inter-ministerial Commission comprised of representatives from the Justice, Industry, Interior and Culture ministries. It will seek to close the gaps in the legal framework to address Internet piracy and advise on the fight against the violation of intellectual property rights on websites.

Second, a bill aimed at stimulating the economy contains provisions that would permit the Ministry of Culture to request ISPs to interrupt access to alleged illegal content offered on websites. These provisions would permit site-blocking following a complaint by a rights holder or their designee to the Commission pending a brief judicial review.

The launch of both these initiatives met with mixed reactions from the content industries who recognize that this is a key starting point to engage on these projects, but who highlight that these measures would only address part of the overall problem. It is imperative that the Government actively work to have this legislation expeditiously passed by Parliament.

But we highlight that unless there is a strategy that tackles the whole problem and all forms of infringing behavior, piracy will simply shift to other and easier alternatives.

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Source: Panda Security.

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