Gallant Macmillan taken offline as High Court hearing beckons

Law firm Gallant Macmillan, which last week pledged to carry on with targeting those accused of file sharing, has been taken offline.

The company’s site remained down today after it was believed to have been targeted by Operation Payback over the weekend. The action followed the law firm saying last week that the controversy surrounding ACS:Law would not stop it going ahead with its anti-piracy cases, including Simon Gallant telling BBC News that he had “no problem” pursuing legal claims.

To that end, the company is due in the High Court today to seek the personal details of hundreds of PlusNet users. The hearing, due to be before Chief Master Winegarten, was reported to be over a court order to obtain a “large number” of personal details of broadband users that Gallant Macmillan suspects of illegally downloading and sharing music from record label the Ministry of Sound.

TorrentFreak reported that the London solicitors’ website was targeted by Operation Payback at about 7pm GMT on Saturday.

According to the report, the Gallant Macmillan site was destined to become the next target of a DDoS attack but the company’s web admin decided to act first – and the site soon began returning the “Invalid Hostname” error.

Operation Payback told TorrentFreak: “This suggests that an administrator has manually pulled the website off the server, although the domain is still pointing to the same server.”

Then, shortly before the planned attack, the law firm was reported have taken unexpected action.

“An hour before the attack, changed their DNS records to point to, effectively surrendering,” TorrentFreak reported.

In another twist, just minutes after 7pm, the Ministry of Sound website was taken offline in a DDoS attack.

Today, the record label’s website remained out of action. The payment site of the company was apparently also targeted, along with its operations in other countries.

This was believed to be the first time a site that makes money from selling music had been targeted by Operation Payback. 

The site shut downs came after thousands of customer details were leaked online after a security breach at ACS:Law, resulting in all manner of ISPs pledging to take a tougher stand in the future with law firms pursuing such anti-piracy claims.