It all began with the YouTube premiere of a 9 minute Scientology promotional video starring Tom Cruise ...
Now found all across the internet; the video of Tom Cruise laughing strangely about Scientology, was once held behind the closed doors of the secretive corporation. Originally shown at a 2004 meeting of the International Association of Scientologists, it's intended use was visually meant for only paying members or recruiters. Needless to say, Scientology did not want the outside world to see this video.
"While the video can be seen in any Church of Scientology, what has appeared on the Internet is a pirated and edited version of a 3-hour event." _Scientology Spokesperson
Violating the US Trademark Laws governing "Fair Use"; The Church of Scientology began it's internet protest for all websites to remove the video or face being sued in court. Several websites agreed to the takedown notices for fear of court costs, leaving only Gawker(DOT)com to stand up for its rights and the resulting criticisms from the larger web community.
"It's newsworthy, and we will not be removing it." _ Gawker
After several attempts to rationalize the Fair Use law; Internet users (particularly members of 4Chan) countered Scientology's violation by anonymously prank-calling Scientology businesses, "black faxing" their offices and causing a Denial of Service to Scientology websites.
On January 19, 2008 - Internet user Dmitry Guzner, a self-proclaimed member of the pranksters 4Chan (not to be confused with the Anonymous protesters) was a teenager living in Verona, New Jersey when he participated in the Distributed Denial of Service against the website scientology(DOT)org.
This particular DDOS method is named for a simple exploit in which several computers send data requests to a website server in hopes that the server cannot handle it. The resulting effect can be slow traffic on the site, the website becomes unavailable for a while, or member log-ins become unavailable.
Basically (as many people may notice) the same thing which happens naturally to any website with faulty servers; too much traffic and "click" no service. We call it "downtime" or an outage.