Hackers Leak MediaDefender Emails

A team of hackers known as the "MediaDefender-Defenders" have leaked confidential information intercepted via emails from MediaDefender, a firm that tries to thwart illegal downloading of songs and movies on behalf of record labels and Hollywood film studios.

The hackers posted a file larger than 700MB, containing emails and an audio recording of what appears to be a 25-minute conference call between MediaDefender executives and law enforcement officials. Some of the leaked emails appeared to support allegations that MediaDefender was secretly running a site where computer users could upload videos and track users who shared copyrighted files without permission.

Though the company has denied operating such a site, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday that at least one of the leaked emails appears to be a discussion about using the site, Miivi.com, to upload software onto users' computers that would spread fraudulent files and clutter file-sharing networks.

The hackers say they released the email in an attempt to "secure the privacy and personal integrity" of the millions of computer users who access online file-sharing networks, and "create a viable defense to the tactics used by these companies," according to a document attached to the email file.

Gary Maier, a spokesman for MediaDefender's parent company, ArtistDirect, declined to provide additional information but assured that the company was investigating the incident. For the past seven years ago, MediaDefender has used several tactics to disrupt the illegal use of online file-sharing networks, including flooding networks with fake versions of content.

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