Kiss bassist and Family Jewels man Gene Simmons is going toe-to-toe with the hordes of Anonymous after his personal website was brought down earlier this week as part of Operation Payback.
Whether it's as the fire-breathing, blood-yakking demon from Kiss or the preening, vaguely buffoonish latter-day Ward Cleaver on A&E, there's no denying that Gene Simmons is an outsized, outspoken personality. When the man speaks, he gets noticed. And when he told a Mipcom conference on building successful entertainment brands that the music industry should protect itself from downloaders by suing the pants off anyone and everyone who dares snag a song off the internet, he got the notice of a lot of people who don't exactly share his point of view.
"Make sure your brand is protected, be litigious, sue anybody - take their homes, their cars, don't let anybody cross that line," he said at the time. "The music industry was asleep at the wheel and didn't have the balls to go and sue every fresh-faced, freckle-faced college kid who downloaded a clip, so now we're left with hundreds of people without jobs."
Not long after, Anonymous came a-knockin', hammering Simmons' site into oblivion as part of Operation Payback, a widespread, long-running DDoS campaign against organizations like the MPAA, the RIAA, the U.K. Intellectual Property Office and at least one high-profile law firm involved in anti-piracy litigation. The site was eventually brought back online, giving Simmons the opportunity to let Anonymous know that he's in no mood to place nice.
"Some of you may have heard a few popcorn farts re: our sites being threatened by hackers," he wrote. "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 girl friend."
"We will soon be printing their names and pictures," he continued. "We will find you. You cannot hide. Stay tuned."
That's what ReadWriteWeb.com says, anyway. Anonymous apparently isn't interested in hugging it out either, because the site was brought down again very soon after Simmons posted his threat. Visitors to genesimmons.com are currently being redirected to the Pirate Bay, with occasional side-trips to a cybersquatter search site.
So who's going to win in this epic clash of the titans? Gene Simmons is a huge Type-A personality and a very shrewd businessman, but baiting Anonymous doesn't strike me as a particularly smart idea for anyone. Whatever happens, I expect plenty of fireworks and amusement along the way. Whoever loses, as the saying goes, we win.