Apparently in retaliation for U.S. prosecutors shutting down the controversial Megaupload file-sharing site and arresting its leaders, hacktivists Anonymous claimed credit for disabling the websites of the Department of Justice, the RIAA, Universal Music Group and others on Thursday.
"We are having website problems, but we're not sure what it's from," a DOJ spokesperson told CNN.
"It was in retaliation for Megaupload, as was the concurrent attack on Justice.org," Anonymous operative Barrett Brown reportedly told British website RT on Thursday afternoon.
"One thing is certain: EXPECT US! #Megaupload" read one tweet from AnonOps. An hour later, another tweet from the account read: "Tango down! http://universalmusic.com & http://www.justice.gov// #Megaupload" Anonops also took credit for knocking offline the sites of the RIAA and the Motion Picture Association of America Thursday.
Anonymous also brought the recent SOPA battle over online piracy into the equation, which a tweet referencing Wednesday's "SOPA blackout" that saw Wikipedia and many other sites shutting down to protest the SOPA and PIPA bills in Congress: "Let's just say, for #SOPA supporters their #SOPAblackout is today. #Anonymous."
Universal Music has been engaged in a legal battle with the site for months, stepping up the fight last month after a video hit the web that featured Kanye West, Swizz Beatz, will.i.am, Alicia Keys and others apparently endorsing the site. Beatz's status as the site's CEO was widely reported on Thursday.
At press time, a rep for Universal had not responded to Billboard.biz's request for comment.