Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 at 10:08 am
Gene Simmons has become targeted by the online group known as Anonymous, after the bassist and founding member of KISS angered Internet users following remarks he made against file sharing on the web. The ongoing feud escalated to the point where Simmons’ official web site and his official record company site were subject to a DDoS attack by Anonymous, resulting in legal action being threatened against individuals who participated in the attacks.
Simmons has been a vocal opponent against peer-to-peer file sharing for many years, and has also been critical of artists searching for alternative business models for the music industry in the 21st century. Anonymous, often associated with the image board 4chan, made Gene Simmons a target of Operation Payback (part of Anonymous’ ongoing online battle against organizations such as the RIAA and MPAA) following remarks he made during a panel discussion at MIPCOM 2010:
Make sure your brand is protected. Make sure there are no incursions. Be litigious. Sue everybody. Take their homes, their cars. Don’t let anybody cross that line.
Simmons’ comments got the attention of Anonymous, who in turn made GeneSimmons.com and SimmonsRecords.com targets of a DDoS attack that saw both sites experience considerable downtime. The resulting downtime clearly angered the Demon from KISS, who issued this statement following the DDoS attack:
Some of you may have heard a few popcorn farts re: our sites being threatened by hackers. Our legal team and the FBI have been on the case and we have found a few, shall we say "adventurous" young people, who feel they are above the law. And, as stated in my MIPCOM speech, we will sue their pants off.
First, they will be punished. Second, they might find their little butts in jail, right next to someone who’s been there for years and is looking for a new girlfriend. We will soon be printing their names and pictures.
We will find you.
You cannot hide.
Simmons’ final three lines in his message, originally posted on his official site, seem to indicate that he is aware of the group Anonymous and is a bit more Internet-savvy than some might suspect; as it appears to be a mirrored reply to their slogan:
We are Anonymous. We are Legion.
We do not forgive. We do not forget.
With his statement threatening legal action, Simmons has effectively declared war on Anonymous. According to several posts circulating 4chan’s random board, it appears that the online activists are going to continue with their DDoS attacks on Simmons, in addition to several pranks being planned by members of the online group. One thing’s for sure: this battle is not over yet, and it remains to be seen who will come out on top. Anonymous, judging by their past protests and exploits, have been deemed to be formidable foes; and Simmons has long been an individual not known to back down.
The important point arising from this continuing battle is that Operation Payback is generating some attention in the music industry now, but whether their advocacy of file sharing and methods of protest effect positive change for the music industry in the 21st century is an outcome yet to be decided.