To whom it may concern;
This is to inform you that we, Anonymous, have for the last few days been involved in an Operation called “Payback is a Bitch”. This was begun in retaliation for denial of service attacks perpetrated by AIPLEX against The Pirate Bay's servers on behalf of the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and the MPAA (Motion Pictures Association of America). Anonymous has successfully engaged in its own DDoS against AIPLEX's servers and has expanded its operations against the MPAA and the RIAA, which at the time of writing were also unreachable.
Anonymous is sick and tired of these corporations seeking to control the internet in their pursuit of profit. Anonymous cannot sit by and do nothing while these organizations stifle the spread of ideas and attack those who wish to exercise their rights to share with others. Anonymous will not just watch while others are attacked. Their servers have been shut down and they will remain so for as long as there is no true freedom of information and data. These successful attacks on MPAA and RIAA's servers shall continue. An injury to one is an injury to all.
We are legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget
To whom it concerns,
Over the past years, we have borne witness to a technological revolution. The individual has become free, in the most extreme anarchistic sense, to share ideas. Some of these ideas are shared behind proxies, darknets, or similar “closed doors”. Nevertheless, the ideas are out there. There have been similar instances of such revolutions of the mind. Their effects on society are inestimably great. As in past times with the invention of the printing press, so it is today that the people embrace this revolution, this new “anarchy” of freedom to share, while their autocratic rulers seek to crush this freedom.
In spite of censorship in the form of copyright law and other restrictions, the people have succeeded in distributing content to the poor, the underprivileged and the oppressed. The most numerous pirates are Chinese, as content filters restrict a vast amount of information in their country. Pirates are also numerous among the poor, as this demographic cannot afford things like college books or entertainment. Indeed, while often ignored by those interested only in bread and circuses, a vast amount of educational literature is available to the everyday pirate online. Piracy democratizes knowledge and makes education affordable.
History repeats itself. There was a time when powers that be attempted to silence the printing press, the blank cassette and the recordable CD. All of these previous attempts at censorship have failed, and future attempts of this nature are doomed to failure. Indeed, the sequestration of human knowledge for the benefit of extremist capitalism is treason against the whole of humanity. All should have the right to listen to a melody, experience a plot and learn from the aggregate of human knowledge available online.
The man on the street already knows this. He knows it when he illegally1) gives his unused software to a friend or acquaintance. He knows it when he gives that old college book to a person in need. However, he also knows that something is wrong.
He knows that something is wrong when the artwork of little girls is raped in the name of copyright2). He knows that something is wrong when solicitors use copyright to blackmail thousands of people sharing information3). He knows that something is wrong when corrupt organizations seeking to stem the free flow of information lie through their teeth, produce false documents and spread misinformation about their opponents (We DID NOT attack the Pirate Party, we ARE NOT affiliated with anti-scientology activism, and The Pirate Bay has not organized this).
He know that it is not right when his leaders inexplicably support massive capitalist enterprises over the majority opinion of their own people4). He know they are wrong when they use illegal means to get what they want, while hypocritically deprecating their opponents for doing the same5).
If one were to pursue the propaganda of various community-reputable organizations such as…
…They would come across many a morality play suggesting that, if they 'pirate' a film or an album, they are depriving a simple artist, actor or crewmember of their rightful wage. This worker won't be able to break even for their next lot of groceries because the pirate robbed them of their money.
Of course, these organizations carefully omit the fact that only a small percentage of the profits made by big media ever make it to those who actually produce it. Do they ever disclose how small of a percentage most script writers, novelists, etc., actually make? Of course not, and there is a reason why. Do these anti-piracy organizations truthfully disclose how much they receive in donations, and from whom? Of course not, and there is a reason for this also.
In the end, our DDoS efforts have been compared to waiting for a train6) What must the people do to be heard? To what lengths must they go to have their pleads taken seriously? Must they to take to the streets with noose and handgun gun before those in power take notice?
You are forcing our hand by ignoring the voice of the people. In doing so, you bring the destruction of your iron grip of information ever closer. You have ignored the people, attacked the people and lied to the people. For this, you will be held accountable before the people, and you will be punished by them.
We will not stop.
We will not forget.
We will prevail.
We are anonymous.
We, the undersigned, call upon you to immediately cease your Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks and to instead seek out a legal method to express your frustration and disquiet with the copyright industry, and their perversions of copyright law for personal gain.
We understand, only too well, that, as a group, you feel the need to bring attention to this problem. We understand and share your frustration that rational arguments backed up by solid evidence are frequently ignored in favor of talking points based on slogans that have never been backed up with hard data. This frustration has led you to carry out a series of DDoS attacks against high profile websites belonging to various anti-piracy groups and government agencies, under the name of “Operation:Payback”.
What began as a counter-attack on Aiplex Software (the company hired to DDoS several websites that did not comply with take-down notices) later turned into a full-on assault against the RIAA, MPAA, and IFPI, among other groups and organizations that had nothing to do with the original purpose of Operation: Payback.
Operation: Payback needs to end. While it is certainly an indication that an increasing number of people are becoming frustrated with the way laws are being constantly re-written to kill our creative culture in the name of preserving profitability, its methods do more harm than good to the global effort.
By continuing Operation:Payback attacks, you will hamper those who promote copyright reform and curtailment of abuses of copyright, but who do so within the bounds of the law. Instead of being able to argue for legislative reform of copyright on its own merits, they will be accused of defending criminals and promoting lawlessness. It will be easier for legislators and the media to ignore the clear benefits of fair copyrights and free speech, in favor of clamoring for harsher legislation to “stop those pirates and hackers.”
Please help those of us who care about your freedoms, your rights and your liberty, and choose a more moderate and legal way.
Despite there apparently being some agreement made with the “leaders” of Operation: Payback, whereby if you were to write to us requesting cessation of our activities we would stop, we refuse to halt our actions. Any individuals who may have made such an agreement with you were acting on their own behalf and may be regarded as rogue elements.
Members of your organizations, the Pirate Parties of the United States of America7) and the United Kingdom8) have recently made statements about Operation: Payback9) With this statement we would like to make our stance on this issue clear.
Finally, we recognize and respect the work of Pirate Parties and wish them luck. We hope that you all continue your fight as we are continuing ours.
People who agree with our philosophy can come to irc://irc.anonops.net/operationpayback to help us fight against the corporate and the political machinery.
Yours respectfully, Operation Payback
In the past few days, the course of Operation: Payback has been confused and unclear. In this statement, all of us would like to clarify both the chaos and the result. We assume that everybody reading this statement is aware of Operation: Payback's history; if not, please see the links below for more information.
As earlier reported11), Operation: Payback is coordinated via a core group on IRC. In mid-November, the hosts of Operation:Payback suffered a lot of server crashes, DDoS attacks (it's unknown whether these were directed by anonymous trolls or by AiPlex, MPAA or related), IRC server switches and chaos. The core group suggested a wider field in which Operation: Payback would now operate: political proposals, a media awareness campaign, changing into a more legal operation, thus allowing the operation to attract more people with different methods. Still, visitor numbers kept dropping. We then realized that the website, tieve.tk, had been taken offline and blocked from re-registering. The resulting drop in users/visitors was misinterpreted [by command] as a lack of interest, fear of getting caught, or that people weren't willing to perform acts that might be illegal. At the same time, Slyck reported that Operation:Payback had ended12), further spreading confusion.
In an interview on Tuesday, November 9th13) , a number of Operation: Payback's core group members suggested that when the Pirate Parties requested that Operation: Payback stand down, it would be a suitable end for the vigilante rampage. This was taken into consideration by both sides but was kept confidential in order to avoid political accusations that the Pirate Parties were collaborating with Operation: Payback, which is most definitely not the case. Later, it turned out that not all members of the core group were represented and neither were the members in the main IRC channel.
On Friday, November 19th, the US Pirate Party released their open letter, calling for an immediate cessation of the DDoS attacks14) People in the main IRC channel were made aware that the USPP's letter had been discussed in command before, and that this occurred without consulting the other members. As an answer, they drafted their own open response.
At that moment, it became clear that the views of command and the other members had drifted apart. Command made the same mistake as today's governments: once they're in their big seats, they think that everything that they decide is automatically approved by the people around them. To make matters worse, the draft response was released by the media before it was completed, leaving gaps and inconsistencies which completed the chaos.
The result of our mistakes is that various news agencies, blogs and affiliated sites decided that they could not take Operation: Payback seriously anymore. And they're right: how could an operation succeed if even its members can't agree on its actions? We all admit that we made mistakes. We've all helped to repair the damage. Now we are all in this together again. Our voice is now as one. We learned from our mistakes. The command group has been reformed, assuring that everyone has a voice. So now we must focus on the task at hand.
All of the recent events reflect that spirit of activism and reaffirm that Operation: Payback, is a decentralized movement. It will not be reduced to useless meetings and discussions about laws and superficial modifications. We believe that the final position is right and this is a sign that we have clear objectives and we are ready to continue fighting against the corruption of cartels and similar entities, in an effective manner.
This operation is not about legality, but about legitimacy. Although we started with payback against one company, we will continue payback for lawsuits and restrictions of our freedom to create and recreate. We continue to develop and adopt new methods to raise public awareness. As part of Operation: Payback, we share values and goals. We value freedom of information, expression and sharing. But we hate censorship, limitations and corporations that make their money off our backs. We will go on with our activities, despite the Pirate Party's wishes. We will not stop until the subject is discussed by equal forces. We have explicitly announced, and will continue to announce, that our movement was not only targeted at The Pirate Bay’s enemies, but all enemies of free speech, particularly Internet neutrality, and we shall stay true to this cause.
We recognize and respect the work of all the Pirate Parties and wish them luck. We hope that they all continue their fight as they think is right. And so will we fight, as we think is right. Come to irc://irc.anonops.net/operationpayback and join our discussion. Help us fight against the corporate and political machinery, or prove our methods wrong by finding alternate successful ways.
Kind regards, all of us.
Dear IFPI, MAFIAA and other parasites,
The recent verdict in the Swedish Appeal Court (ThePirateBay spectrial) provoked this statement from Operation: Payback. We emphasize our statement with a Distributed Denial-of-Service attack aimed at the IFPI's website.
Today marked perhaps one of the most heinous of crimes against freedom. It has been announced that the leaders of ThePirateBay have been found guilty in a Swedish court. This travesty of injustice perpetrated by media conglomerates is an abomination against society.
Anonymous strongly opposes this decision and the far reaching implications. No single court should be able to decide what the rest of the world can or cannot do.
We believe the Internet has opened new avenues of opportunity for everyone everywhere. The Internet should not be censored or controlled by governments or corporations.
Large numbers of people benefit from the use of torrents and peer-to-peer to distribute their work. Torrents are widely used by artists. Many profitable companies distribute their content using P2P thereby saving themselves money by using other's connections. Why should they get to have it both ways? Who are they to decide?
In simple terms, ThePirateBay is nothing more than Google for torrents. They host NO infringing content. How can this be declared illegal? What is next? Ringtones? Perhaps your favorite search site?
The leaders of ThePirateBay are not criminals. They have harmed no one. They only brought good to this world. We are taught as children that we must learn to share. Share food with the hungry, share water with the thirsty, share medicines with the sick, then WHY CAN WE NOT SHARE HAPPINESS?! Everybody enjoys music, everybody enjoys film. Isn't it hypocritical to say that we can share these necessities but not that what makes us enjoy life?
Technology has developed quicker than the entertainment industries can comprehend. They cannot grasp what is possible today. They live in the time where gramophones, cassette tapes and video tapes were the only distribution method. Its ironic that they made the same arguments then, yet they are still profitable. Today, our future is being limited by the corporation's failed business models.Their solution is to control the Internet itself. We have had enough. We are angry. We will no longer take orders from oldfags dictating what we can and cannot do.
ThePirateBay stands as a symbol representing our beliefs. The voice of the people should not be silenced by government let alone a private company interested only in protecting their bottom line. Copyright laws as they exist today are far outdated and have no place in the modern world.
We will continue our fight against these outdated laws. We will continue to attack websites of those who are a danger to freedom on the Internet. We will continue to attack those who embrace censorship. You will not be able to hide your ludicrous ways to control us. We will expose you and your intentions will be dealt with. This injustice must be corrected.
We will not forgive. We will not forget.
Warner Bros, MGM, Universal, and Sony are among the largest organizations represented by the IFPI. These organizations have levied 6.5 million dollars in damages against innocent people. In response, we will cause equivalent losses in downtime, corrupt data and focused disruption of the distribution of their media.
The founders of The Pirate Bay were not pursued because they were guilty but because they made easy targets for these organizations to take money from and to use as scapegoats. They don't care about art or creativity. They don't care about artist rights nor do they care about Justice. So we will send them a message in the only language they understand; money. We will hit them in their wallets.
If these organizations are so concerned over the growing and widespread use of their products, then we shall oblige, and if needs be, we shall abstain from and take measures to prevent the legal purchase of what they have to offer. Let it be known that this is only the tip of the iceberg and only the beginning of our statement of displeasure against the actions of these corporations. We are Anonymous, we shall never forgive, we shall never forget. Expect us.
Who is Anonymous
In their most recent public statement, WikiLeaks is the only group of people to identify Anonymouscorrectly. Anonymous is not a group, but rather an Internet gathering.Both Anonymous and the media that is covering it are aware of the percieved dissent betweenindividuals in the gathering. This does not, however, mean that the command structure ofAnonymous is failing for a simple reason: Anonymous has a very loose and decentralized commandstructure that operates on ideas rather than directives.We do not believe that a similar movement exists in the world today and as such we have to learnby trial and error. We are now in the process of better communicating some core values to theindividual atoms that comprise Anonymous - we also want to take this opportunity to communicatea message to the media, so that the average Internet Citizen can get to know who we are and whatwe represent.Anonymous is not a group of hackers. We are average Interent Citizens ourselves and ourmotivation is a collective sense of being fed up with all the minor and major injustices we witnessevery day. We do not want to steal your personal information or credit card numbers. We also do not seek toattack critical infrastructure of companies such as Mastercard, Visa, PayPal or Amazon. Our currentgoal is to raise awareness about WikiLeaks and the underhanded methods employed by the abovecompanies to impair WikiLeaks' ability to function.
What is Operation: Payback
As stated above, the point of Operation: Payback was never to target critical infrastructure of any ofthe companies or organizations affected. Rather than doing that, we focused on their corporatewebsites, which is to say, their online “public face”. It is a symbolic action - as blogger andacademic Evgeny Morozov put it, a legitimate expression of dissent.
The background to the attacks on PayPal and the calls to attack Amazon.com
Amazon, which was until recently WikiLeaks' DNS provider, was one of the first companies to dropsupport for WikiLeaks. On December 9th, BusinessInsider.com reported that Amazon.co.uk werehosting the recently leaked diplomatic cables in e-book form. (Amazon.co.uk has since ceasedselling the bundle of the diplomatic cables.)After this piece of news circulated, parts of Anonymous on Twitter asked for Amazon.com to betargetted. The attack never occured.While it is indeed possible that Anonymous may not have been able to take Amazon.com down in aDDoS attack, this is not the only reason the attack never occured. After the attack was so advertisedin the media, we felt that it would affect people such as consumers in a negative way and makethem feel threatened by Anonymous. Simply put, attacking a major online retailer when people arebuying presents for their loved ones, would be in bad taste.The continuing attacks on PayPal are already tested and preferable: while not damaging their abilityto process payments, they are successful in slowing their network down just enough for people tonotice and thus, we achieve our goal of raising awareness.