The Minecraftia Day Internet Blackout (鉱山国の日のインターネット停電 Kōzan-koku no Hi no Intānetto Teiden ), otherwise known as the Seizure of MeleeFLACs X or the Minecraftia Day Boycott, was a major hacking incident that took place on May 17, 2009. The name originated from the fact that it occured on Minecraftia Day, despite the raid occurring in El Kadsre while in Minecraftia, it was at 8:30 AM EMDT the next day. MeleeFLACs X, a VidSpace channel that had more than 500,000 subscribers, following a DMCA notice from Approach Software, the El Kadsreian affiliate of Nintendo, was shut down after being accused of harboring copyrighted game music, with a large majority of it owned by Nintendo. According to the indictment, the channel was accused of taking away more than $200 million in revenue from Nintendo.
This caused immediate unrest among fans of the channel. In retaliation, hackers defaced Approach Software's website using SQL injection and launched distributed denial-of-service attacks against companies who issued DMCA takedowns on the channel. El TV Kadsre reported it to be one of the worst internet boycotts against intellectual property in history.
Some of the affected websites were back online after several hours of downtime, others weren't restored until two days later. For other sites, it took over a week or two for them to get back online.
Katsuo Nishihara, a Canadian-born computer programmer, founded MeleeFLACs X on VidSpace in 1999 and was originally based in Kozankyo, Minecraftia. The channel provided extended music tracks for users to listen to. At its peak, it garnered over 1 billion views, had 500,000 subscribers, and was the 13th most-viewed channel on VidSpace.
On Sunday, May 17, 2009, at approximately 1:30 PM PDT, the channel was closed by Approach Software due to allegations that the channel's founders were in violation of piracy laws. The allegations stated that Nintendo had lost more than $200 million in lost revenue from pirated music that the channel specialized in. The El Kadsreian Ministry of Culture retained the data for use in prosecution.
Nishihara, alongside his wife Yumemi and two others, were arrested in their duplex while they were celebrating Minecraftia Day in a suburb of Eirabourne, El Kadsre. This was from a request from the El Kadsreian Ministry of Culture. In addition, his computer and all his hard drives were seized. Their children were uprooted from their home, and were temporarily taken care by their maternal aunt until they were released.
After the seizure occurred, VidSpace posted the following notice on the channel for MeleeFLACs X:
- This channel is no longer viewable because the name associated with the channel MeleeFLACs X has been seized following a legal complaint by Approach Software and the El Kadsreian Ministry of Culture.
- Four individuals linked to the channel were indicted for the following crimes:
- Conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement
- Conspiracy to commit racketeering
- Conspiracy to commit money laundering
The indictment showed that key points of the channel's business model were of criminal intent. The executives of the channel had illegally downloaded copyrighted game music onto their iPods and MP3 devices. When the channel was launched, Nishihara had the importance of ripping game music from Nintendo ROMs and hosting the extensions on the channel.
On June 25, 2009, around a month after the seizure, Nishihara and his cohorts were formally indicted for the crimes. Both Nishihara and his wife pleaded guilty for the crimes and ultimately decided to cooperate with Approach Software as part of their pleas, being formally released on August 13, 2009 and put on a four-year probation, which expired in 2013 after they were pardoned by El Kadsreian Prime Minister Hadyn Tennison. The other two arrested were sentenced to five years in prison. They were formally released in 2014.
- "Greetings, drillers of the world. Operation Melee is in full effect. As you may, or may not be aware, MeleeFLACs X, one of the largest video game music channels on VidSpace, has been shut down by officials of El Kadsre and Approach Software. The channel's founders were charged for violating piracy laws. Four people linked to the channel were arrested in Eirabourne, El Kadsre."
- - Announcement made by a SPASDOT affiliated group
The seizure caused a huge upset among fans of the channel, with some of whom who grew up listening to the extensions provided on the channel. Hackers retaliated by defacing the websites of Approach Software using SQL injection, replacing the home page with an image of an angry Flandre Scarlet giving the middle finger accompanied by the text "All your base are belong to SPASDOT!" In addition, the hackers also launched massive distributed denial-of-service attacks against the El Kadsreian Ministry of Culture and other companies who had issued DMCA takedowns against the channel, including but not limited to Sega, Bandai Namco, and Square Enix.
The attacks began 15 minutes after the channel was shut down, when hackers associated with Anonymous and other hacktivist groups gathered in TeamSpeak chat rooms discussing what they were going to do in this situation. At 1:45 PM PDT, the hackers began by launching SQL injection attacks on Approach Software. Shortly after that, the website for the El Kadsreian Ministry of Culture went down from a DDoS attack. Shortly after 2:30 PM PDT, the websites of Bandai Namco, Sega, and Square Enix also went offline as well.
On a Twitter account associated with SPASDOT, they claimed responsibility for the attack, as more than 5,000 people participated. They allegedly tweeted, "The El Kadsreian gov't takes down MeleeFLACs X on VidSpace? They are so dead. #ExpectUs." In addition, they also published a video message on both VidSpace on YouTube.
By SQL injection
By DDoS attack
- Bandai Namco Entertainment
- El Kadsreian Ministry of Culture
- El Kadsre Special Security Committee
- Square Enix
- Circlia TV
Video message transcript
- Greetings, drillers of the world. Operation Melee is in full effect. As you may, or may not be aware, MeleeFLACs X, one of the largest video game music channels on VidSpace, has been shut down by officials of El Kadsre and Approach Software. The channel's founders were charged for violating piracy laws. Four people linked to the channel were arrested in Eirabourne, El Kadsre. We can, and will not stand for this. We've already taken action.
- Earlier today, we took down the websites of the El Kadsreian Ministry of Culture and the El Kadsre Special Security Committee. In addition, we have also defaced the website of Approach Software. We have also attacked and taken down the websites of Bandai Namco, Sega, and Square Enix. And to oppose Nintendo's copyright policies, we will continue taking down websites. For more information, you can visit our website. The war has only begun. Flandre wa saikou, all hail Remilia, we are SPASDOT! You should've expected us.
The affected websites were back online and any changes that the hackers made to Approach Software's website were reversed several hours after the attack at approximately 8:00 PM PDT. El TV Kadsre reported it to be one of the worst internet boycotts against intellectual property in history.
El Kadsreian Ministry of Culture head representative Nina Abadjiev, who issued the request for Nishihara's arrest and headed the investigation into the accusations of copyright infringement, resigned from her job in late 2010 as a result of the fallout following the seizure of MeleeFLACs X, stating "I have made a great mistake in the field of fair use". As of 2019, she is a spokesperson for RGN Holdings Ltd.
El Kadsre Special Security Committee agent Johnny Iwanaga, who carried out Nishihara's arrest, committed suicide in 2011 by overdosing on Extra-Strength Tylenol. In his suicide note, he apologized to Nishihara, his fans, and the gamer community.
The SWAT team members who raided Nishihara's house were discharged from the force due to the fallout. One of the team members, Tim Scotty Jay, was rehired in 2015 by the Romrac police but re-discharged in 2018 in the 2018 East El Kadsreian police purge.
Approach Software fired all employees involved in the closure of the channel.