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Music Pirates' Hack Attack

For about an hour Wednesday, it sure seemed like it, with the Recording Industry Association of America’s own Website declaring: “RIAA against music sharing? Not anymore!”

But that wasn’t the sentiment of the association; it was the work of hackers.

The illegal intrusion came hard on the heels of an industry survey that pointed the finger at file-sharing Websites for declining CD sales-an accusation those sites refute.

It’s the second time in recent weeks the industry group’s Website has been attacked, but this assault was even more devastating.

Last time, the site was merely frozen by an overload of connection requests. This time, its content was heavily altered to spout pro-piracy lines.

As of this afternoon, the site had not yet been restored. The industry trade group is staying mum about the incident, beyond acknowledging to the Hollywood Reporter a “problem” with the site that was being fixed.

Beyond the pro-piracy headline on the site’s intro page, hackers posted lengthy attacks on the group’s anti-piracy stance, satirical messages and numerous links to online music-sharing sites such as KaZaA.

According to reports, one link even offered up a download of Linkin Park’s hit remix album Reanimation as a “token of its goodwill” and an apology for the “heavy-handed manner” in which Listen4ever.com, the Chinese file-trading site, was shut down.

There also were a few silly jokes, including an “Inside the RIAA” column purportedly written by South Park’s foul-mouthed psycho tyke Eric Cartman.

Overall, the hack was a guerilla assault against the record industry’s hard-line stance against file-sharing distributors. Among other things, the group is pushing for a law that would allow for the electronic surveillance of file-sharing sites.

The sales-sensitive record industry reports a 10.1 percent drop in music shipments in the first half of this year, compared to last. (From $5.93 billion to a mere $5.53 billion.) And so far, only 20 titles have sold more than 1 million this year, compared to 37 titles last year.

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