The Web site of Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) has been down since last night after being targeted by a distributed denial-of-service attack launched by the Anonymous hacker group as part of what it calls its "war on copyright."
BMI took the site offline after the attack started last night, a spokeswoman told CNET today. It remained inaccessible as of 11:30 a.m. PT today. BMI handles licensing and royalty payment collections on behalf of songwriters, composers, and music publishers.
"In a protective measure, BMI.com has been temporarily taken down due to a denial-of-service attack reportedly launched by a hacker group. The attack slows down external access to BMI.com. There has not been a breach of security into our systems in any form and access has not been obtained to any secure content," a BMI statement said.
"We believe that this attack is part of their misguided campaign to attack creative rights," the statement said. "Other than the website, operations are not impacted by the company's protective move. BMI plans to resume full service of all online services for its songwriters, music publishers and licensees shortly."
In a statement to BMI released publicly, Anonymous, a loosely organized grass-roots group, accused BMI of abusing copyright legislation.
"Too long have the music and cinema industries, among others, abused copyright for their own gain," the statement said. "Legislation serves to protect artists not the companies managing them and should never attempt to prevent the spread of creativity to the general public."
The group gained notoriety for organizing attacks on the Web sites of PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, and other companies in December in defense of whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks. The FBI has issued search warrants in the case, and British police arrested five people as part of the probe.
Other targets of Anonymous have included the Church of Scientology; the governments of Egypt, Iran, and Sweden; the Westboro Baptist Church; and conservative activist billionaires Charles and David Koch. The group also recently targeted a security firm, HBGary Federal, that said it had been working with the FBI to identify the leaders of Anonymous.