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In UK, Oink Admin Cleared of Fraud

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the bpi-not-best-pleased dept.

The Courts 156

krou writes "The BBC is reporting that Alan Ellis, who ran music file sharing site Oink from his flat in the UK, has been found not guilty of conspiracy to defraud. Between 2004 and 2007, the site 'facilitated the download of 21 million music files' by allowing its some 200,000 'members to find other people on the web who were prepared to share files.' Ellis was making £18,000 a month ($34,600) from donations from users, and claimed that he had no intention of defrauding copyright holders, and said 'All I do is really like Google, to really provide a connection between people. None of the music is on my website.'" Reader Andorin recommends Torrentfreak's coverage, which includes summaries of the closing arguments.

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36k a month (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30782692)

wish i had thought of it

Re:36k a month (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782834)

Didn't the site have donation bar that said running costs were like $2000/month, that was always "filling up" towards end of the month? If the running costs were that, it left a quite nice sum of rest of that $35 000 to him.

Spin (1, Troll)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782708)

34k a month? I dont feel sorry they went after him.

When police raided his terraced home in October 2007, they found almost 300,000 dollars in his accounts and the site had 200,000 members, who had downloaded 21 million files.

Mr Ellis said the money was used to pay for the server's rental and any "surplus" was intended to eventually buy a server.

I'm calling shenanigans on that too. $300k would buy some pretty nice servers, much less a server.

Re:Spin (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30782756)

Jealous much?

Re:Spin (1, Troll)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782876)

Making 500k for helping other people share material under copyright? Yea, jealous of the sum, but not of the method, shows a lot about his ethics.

Re:Spin (2)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783078)

Making 500k for helping other people share material under copyright? Yea, jealous of the sum, but not of the method, shows a lot about his ethics.

What exactly does the public library do? Which ethics do public libraries support?

Are you suggesting that we sue libraries out of existence for helping other people access material under copyright?

Re:Spin (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783120)

The Authors Guild probably would sue libraries if they didn't already have hundreds of years of history behind them. The only reason online sharing of books is illegal is because it's a new concept. The Boston Public Library is allowed to exist, but bostonlibrary.com is not.

Re:Spin (2, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783264)


A local lending library does not have and never has had the ability to reproduce a single book for as many people as want it at no significant cost to themselves.

Hence libraries have never had the capacity to threaten the actual profitability of a book that much. See - there's a difference for you.

Re:Spin (3, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783436)

Hence libraries have never had the capacity to threaten the actual profitability of a book that much.

Nobody's proven that filesharing has the "capacity to threaten the actual profitability of a book that much" either.

Re:Spin (1)

GryMor (88799) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783598)

The main reasons libraries aren't currently a threat is the granularity of lending at the book level and the temporary nature of lending. Conceptually, imagine a lending system that worked on a page by page basis, with pages only being loaned out when actively being read. Ignoring bibliophiles (like me) that buy books that they already have free ebook copies of (aka, ignoring Baen's contention that free books drive revenue), I think this would cut in to profitability somewhat for 'best sellers'

Re:Spin (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783970)

Except if people read it at the library, why would they need to buy it? The problem is that the economy has changed and you don't like it. The marginal cost of copying things is no longer a concern. Business models need to change to match that reality.

Re:Spin (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784300)

Except if people read it at the library, why would they need to buy it?

You have confused terms. It should read: "if a person can read it at the library, why would people need to buy it?".

Let me illustrate. The Harry Potter books are available at libraries. Can everyone who wants to read one of those books when they come out go straight down to the library and do so? No - the library is not able to distribute hundreds of thousands of copies on demand and even if they were, each of those copies would have been bought from the publisher in the first place. There is a difference.

Business models need to change to match that reality.

Again, I'll change your wording: "Businesses need to accept that people will take their stuff without having to give them anything in return.".

If that's different to what you meant, then please explain how. If it is what you meant, then it's something I disagree with.

Re:Spin (1)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784548)

The marginal cost of copying things is no longer a concern. Business models need to change to match that reality.

No, duplicating bits is EVIL!! and the perpetrators of said heinous crime should be put in the poorhouse until the day they die for desiring access to information (*). Oh wait...

(*) Pretty much as is already happening.

Re:Spin (1)

Barsteward (969998) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784028)

Well, every time a book is loaned out its a sale lost...

Re:Spin (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784358)

No, no its not. Demand at the zero price point is NOT demand at any price point. If a poor kid borrows books from a library those are not lost sales--the kid didn't have money for the books anyway. No sales are lost.

Re:Spin (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783234)

Well, in the UK, they lend out books and pay a small per-loan royalty to the authors.

Re:Spin (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783442)

Well, in the UK, they lend out books and pay a small per-loan royalty to the authors.

I may be severely undereducated in such matters, but I don't think the public libraries in the US pay royalties. The main website to my local network of libraries seems to be down, or having a disruption. http://www.mpls.lib.mn.us/ [lib.mn.us]

Re:Spin (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784368)

No. The US doesn't.

Honestly though, it all seems backwards. I think it a lot more likely that libraries displace book sales than piracy displaces music sales.

Re:Spin (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783438)

First sale doctrine

Re:Spin (1)

TheLuggage2008 (1199251) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783526)

Are you suggesting that we sue libraries out of existence for helping other people access material under copyright?

I don't have a problem with sites like Oink existing but what he was doing and what libraries are doing aren't the same thing. If libraries started making it possible and easy for patrons all over the world to near instantly create perfect replicas (and take permanent ownership) of copyrighted materials, libraries as we know them would not be permitted to exist.

Libraries operate on a lending model; you have to give stuff back or they fine you and only as many people can take that content concurrently as exist purchased copies (eBooks on a subscription model or one-to-many model is the exception).

File sharing sites and networks allow almost limitless numbers of people to simultaneously create their own identical copy of the original material that they intend to keep and in turn distribute. Whether the content they are pursuing is legal (or should be legal) for them to acquire in that manner is a separate issue.

Re:Spin (1)

cmiller173 (641510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783632)

So if I go to my local library and check out a physical DVD and copy it at negligible cost that is OK? These darn lines are getting blurrier and blurrier....

Re:Spin (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783820)

Are you suggesting that we sue libraries out of existence for helping other people access material under copyright?

I don't have a problem with sites like Oink existing but what he was doing and what libraries are doing aren't the same thing. If libraries started making it possible and easy for patrons all over the world to near instantly create perfect replicas (and take permanent ownership) of copyrighted materials, libraries as we know them would not be permitted to exist.

Libraries operate on a lending model; you have to give stuff back or they fine you and only as many people can take that content concurrently as exist purchased copies (eBooks on a subscription model or one-to-many model is the exception).

File sharing sites and networks allow almost limitless numbers of people to simultaneously create their own identical copy of the original material that they intend to keep and in turn distribute. Whether the content they are pursuing is legal (or should be legal) for them to acquire in that manner is a separate issue.

So.. you're saying that... because we have this technology which we can use to instantly copy things, that we should be paying as much or more than if we didn't have this technology and relied on others to make copies for us?

I always thought that the cheaper something becomes to produce/copy, the less profits the producer/copier can exact from the sale of said something.

Re:Spin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783930)

Making 500k for helping other people share material under copyright? Yea, jealous of the sum, but not of the method, shows a lot about his ethics.

What exactly does the public library do? Which ethics do public libraries support?

Are you suggesting that we sue libraries out of existence for helping other people access material under copyright?

Slight difference: public libraries buy the books they loan out. This particular sleazebag didn't buy anything in order to "earn" £18,000 a month. He deserved a hefty fine and at least a suspended sentence.

Re:Spin (2, Insightful)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784280)

Slight difference: public libraries buy the books they loan out. This particular sleazebag didn't buy anything in order to "earn" £18,000 a month. He deserved a hefty fine and at least a suspended sentence.

Well. No one can point to a law that he broke soooo...

He did not do anything to Earn a fine. Unless you are just pissed that a guy found out how to make shitloads of cash for very little effort. In fact from looking at your post it would seem that is is the fact that he made a lot of money for no effort that pissed you off. What a sad life you must live.

Re:Spin (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782972)

Jealous much?

Right, because anyone who has a problem with potentially/allegedly ill-gotten gain can only be motivated by jealousy. A good thing like an objection to unscrupulous or at least questionable business methods can only come from a bad, petty thing like envy of someone else's money.

That's completely false, of course. However, that's really how a lot of people think. I suppose their own lust for money makes them think that everyone else operates as they do.

Re:Spin (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783116)

Jealous much?

Right, because anyone who has a problem with potentially/allegedly ill-gotten gain can only be motivated by jealousy. A good thing like an objection to unscrupulous or at least questionable business methods can only come from a bad, petty thing like envy of someone else's money. That's completely false, of course. However, that's really how a lot of people think. I suppose their own lust for money makes them think that everyone else operates as they do.

Ahh Slashdot. The nexus of the universe where clever witticism and intellectual humor meets satirical irony in the form of dry sarcasm.

Re:Spin (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784302)

He clearly was profiting from crime. Anyone with morals would be disgusted and anyone using the service thinking they're trying to keep it open should be disgusted too and he should be in jail.

Re:Spin (1)

amorsen (7485) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784440)

Anyone with your morals, that is.

Re:Spin (0)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782792)

What of it? Oink was his business, good for him for making a profit off of it.

Re:Spin (4, Funny)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782846)

What of it? Oink was his business, good for him for making a profit off of it.

Yeah...but he didn't have to be a pig about it and hog all the money.

[ba dum tsh]
Thank you! I'll be here all night. Try the pork!

Re:Spin (2, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783730)

Meh. That was boaring, hamfisted attempt.

How could you have missed that he really brought home the bacon?
Were you just spamming puns?

Re:Spin (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782852)

And what a successful one it was indeed. Good profit, no jail time, happy times.

Re:Spin (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783148)

Profit?

That's an awfully big assumption. Sure he collected $34,000 from donations but if his online billing/expenses were $40,000 then he's not really getting rich, is he?

Re:Spin (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783418)

I would kind of assume that he would have quit and shut it down if he couldn't cover his costs.

Re:Spin (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783872)

Bad assumption. People often operate things at a loss, simply because they enjoy it. For example the niteshdw.com website (which had been sued by MPAA) was operating at a loss. The owner kept it going by using his own salary from being a full-time engineer.

Re:Spin (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784396)


This guy had £300,000 pounds lying around in his accounts for "buying a new server". He wasn't losing money.

Re:Spin (1)

ncohafmuta (577957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784230)

40K a month for colo? come on, he wasn't serving the content, how much could his bill be? maybe 3K? 5K TOPS

-Tony

Re:Spin (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783110)

Oink was his business

Didn't he hold a regular job? I don't recall Oink being his career? maybe hobby/business/career needs a clarification?

Re:Spin (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782840)

34k a month? I dont feel sorry they went after him.

Trying to edge in on Apple and Microsoft's turf, and he didn't even pay his protection money to RIAA! No wonder the police came after him. I mean, seriously, what was he thinking?

I'm calling shenanigans on that too. $300k would buy some pretty nice servers, much less a server.

The cost of the hardware is hardly worth mentioning... this little enterprise is about bandwidth. A few grand a month can easily be spent on just a T1.

Re:Spin (2, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782884)

The cost of the hardware is hardly worth mentioning... this little enterprise is about bandwidth. A few grand a month can easily be spent on just a T1.

You do understand that bittorrent tracker itself doesn't burn bandwidth almost at all, but its extremely heavy on the server because so many hits are coming in all the time?

Re:Spin (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783346)


I'm guessing she doesn't.

Re:Spin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783964)


A few grand a month can easily be spent on just a T1.

A T1? Are you from the past? Can I see your time machine?

We lease a full 100 Mbit synchronous fibre connection for $1200/month. (in .ca eh)

Re:Spin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30782858)

You didn't read what you quoted?

How much do you think expenses for current serves cost with 200,000 users?

Re:Spin (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783198)

I'm calling shenanigans on that too. $300k would buy some pretty nice servers, much less a server.

Hardware costs were probably minimal compared to bandwidth & hosting expenses...

Re:Spin (1)

Mushdot (943219) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783212)

Obviously he would say all the money was for keeping the site running, saying anything else would have harmed his case. If you look at the userbase it's easy to see how he got it - 180,000 people dropping the odd few quid over 3 years would mount up quickly.

I have mixed feelings about him walking away with all that cash. Maybe I'm just surprised and a little jealous he could rack that much money up.

Maybe he should have donated some of the excess or disabled donations once he was above running costs, I don't know. But in reality I think if any of you put yourselves in the shoes of a 23 year old with money piling in like it was for him, you'd be thinking 'fuck yeh!' - I know I would.

money (3, Interesting)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782862)

The big question is...
Now that he has been found innocent, does he get his 300k back?
Or am I mistaken in assuming that his assets were seized?

Re:money (4, Insightful)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782942)

Depends. Does the UK have civil asset forfeiture? Because in the US, that money would be found guilty and no one would ever see it again.

That's right, money can be guilty in the US if it associates with other money to a sum of $10,000 or more (or less, really, if the authorities really want it). Land of the free, my ass.

Re:money (2, Informative)

Shimbo (100005) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783184)

Depends. Does the UK have civil asset forfeiture?

Yes, the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Drug trafficking, arms dealing, people trafficking, money laundering... is grounds for forfeiture of assets. As is "making an illicit recording", "possessing an article designed for making a copy of a copyright work".

Re:money (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783280)

Well there you go. He'll never see his money again, even if proven innocent.

If things in the US and the UK are as screwed up as they are, in pretty much the same ways, remind me again why my ancestors* fought yours for independence???

*Technically, my ancestors were either eeking out a living in the slums around Manchester or conducting raids against English landlords in County Cork in 1776, depending on which branch of the family tree you follow.

Re:money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783426)

If things in the US and the UK are as screwed up as they are ...

Phrases like this remind me that not everybody gets a trophy. "Because things in the US and the UK are screwed up..."

Re:money (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783516)

*Technically, my ancestors were either eeking out a living in the slums around Manchester

Technically, you make it sound like your ancestors made a living by being surprised a lot. Eke, ekes, eked, eking...

Re:money (1)

nosferatu1001 (264446) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783732)

Except as he was found "not guilty" no monies can be seized

Re:money (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784532)

you would think that. But in the US, assets seized by the government when they arrest you for a drug felony do not have to be returned or compensated for if you are found innocent or even if the charges are dropped if the assets have been auctioned off before that happens. Yay, war on freedom. :(

Re:money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783226)

Depends. Does the UK have civil asset forfeiture? Because in the US, that money would be found guilty and no one would ever see it again.

That's right, money can be guilty in the US if it associates with other money to a sum of $10,000 or more (or less, really, if the authorities really want it).

I have this picture of the stack of money with eyes from a certain insurance commercial, being questioned on the stand in criminal court...

Re:money (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783268)

Well that's what happens when you have a Central government that pretends the People's Constitution does not exist. The government just does whatever the hell it feels like. It's leadership unconstrained by laws.

Proposed Amendment XXVIII

Section 1. After a Bill has become Law, if one-fourth* of the States declare the Law to be "unconstitutional" it shall be null and void. It shall be as if the Law never existed.

Section 2. This article shall be inoperative, unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths* of the several States by the date January 1, 2050.

*
* [This is called a constitutional majority.]

Re:money & power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783640)

You forget, States are full of politicians, many with ambitions to go Federal. I doubt the State government would overrule the Federal, unless they were committing political suicide (in which case, you'd see the first Honest politician in recorded history).

Besides, you have to Think of the Children (tm)!

Re:money & power (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783928)

>>>I doubt the State government would overrule the Federal

It's happened in the past. In the early 1800s the Northern States refused to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act, effectively nullifying Congressional law. More recently states are ignoring the U.S. prohibition on marijuana and making it legal for use by doctors (via prescription).

I think giving States the power to declare laws "unconstitutional" would effectively shackle Washington, and keep them from doing idiotic, tyrannical stuff (like fining me $2500 for not joining an HMO). Checks and balances on power. Just like we learned in school.

Re:money (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782948)

Now that he has been found innocent, does he get his 300k back?

You never get your money back if you're working class scum. You have to be born into money before they let you keep any of it. Maybe you haven't heard that if you're carrying more than a few hundred dollars you can have it seized on suspicion of terrorism or drugs and the burden of proof is on you. It's the same with every dollar you have in electronic accounts...

There's tens, if not hundreds, of millions in assets seized on suspicions by various government agencies... and never heard from again. Afterall, if you complain, they'll just come back and take the rest... conspiracy to commit... obstruction of justice... you know, the usual bullsh*t charges.

Re:money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783102)

NO way dude.... they just sprinkled some crack on the money.... it is now the CEO of AIG's last week's lunch tab.

Re:money (1)

jmickle (941634) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783320)

oops i wasnt signed in when i posted

Re:money (1)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783338)

NO way dude.... they just sprinkled some crack on the money.... it is now the CEO of AIG's last week's lunch tab.

Wow. You took a UK court ruling and somehow made it about an American financial giant by stealing a race joke. I'm impressed. What's your next trick, telling us about how China's Google hack is really the cause of the Haitian earthquake?

Re:money (1)

beatsme (1472991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783646)

He didn't have 300k, so I don't think he will get that in return. You're confusing the figures: 300k was what was earned by donations through the site. When he was arrested he only had 20k in savings.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/tees/8457260.stm [bbc.co.uk]
I imagine they froze his account, but that he will be returned to his pittance of a savings account.

Re:money (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783776)

actually, the first article clearly states he had 300k in his paypal account. Of course this is paypal, they have a tendency to lock your account and take your money for no reason at all, with no legal recourse because they are not a real bank.

£1 per member per year (1)

fridaynightsmoke (1589903) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782902)

Not a bad 'donation density' really. It just shows the massive economies of scale possible on the internet.

He's an enabler... (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782914)

And you know how the government hates enablers.

A car analogy:

His website was like a GPS, handy, but can still head you in the wrong direction.

An illegal drug analogy:

His website was like marijuana, it was a gateway to more nefarious things.

(Warning, the above was sarcasm)

Re:He's an enabler... (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782958)

Well in this case it was quite clear what was going on. C'mon, if you looked at the site and the torrent listing, one would had been a complete, unbelievably retard not knowing people we're using all those torrents for sole copyright infringement.

Re:He's an enabler... (2, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782974)

I actually don't care one way or another, I was just being a smartass. I'm usually pretty good at it.

Implications for torrent sites? (5, Interesting)

WowTIP (112922) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782930)

I do not know exactly how oink works (worked?), but from the quote

All I do is really like Google, to really provide a connection between people. None of the music is on my website.

Wouldn't that make exactly the same defence valid for Pirate Bay and other torrent sites?

Re:Implications for torrent sites? (1)

broken_chaos (1188549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783004)

Sounds more like an IRC network than a torrent site to me, but it certainly would be a valid defence for some cases (particularly those hosted in the UK). I'm not sure where they're drawing the line on 'providing connection between people' vs. 'facilitating copyright infringement', and it also probably depends heavily on who's drawing the line in which jurisdiction.

Re:Implications for torrent sites? (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783026)

UK rulings to my knowledge, have no real authority outside of their jurisdiction (other countries) so the only way this could have any legal implications would be if TPB was based in the same jurisdiction as Oink. It could also be that the courts took into account his intentions as well and made a distinction between TPB and say Google or Oink.

Re:Implications for torrent sites? (1)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783058)

The judge in that trial was owned by corporate interests. Probably not so in this one.

Re:Implications for torrent sites? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30784454)

It was a jury trial, and the decision was unanimous.

Re:Implications for torrent sites? (1)

gb123 (1317277) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783076)

I do not know exactly how oink works (worked?), but from the quote

All I do is really like Google, to really provide a connection between people. None of the music is on my website.

Wouldn't that make exactly the same defence valid for Pirate Bay and other torrent sites?

I thought The Pirate Bay got in trouble for its tracker - which to my knowledge is no longer functional. This looks to be the same idea as TPB, minus the tracking.

Re:Implications for torrent sites? (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783092)

I do not know exactly how oink works (worked?), but from the quote

All I do is really like Google, to really provide a connection between people. None of the music is on my website.

Wouldn't that make exactly the same defence valid for Pirate Bay and other torrent sites?

Yes, that is TPB's defense. But, different laws and courts for different nations, so the decision in the UK isn't applicable in Sweden.

Re:Implications for torrent sites? (1)

eball (1315601) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783096)

My understanding is that the UK doesn't have a law against causing/contributing to copyright infringement, so they sued him for "defrauding the music industry." But since all he did was host the tracker, while the users did all the actual sharing, it would appear that there wasn't really any UK law that they could nail him with. The case for The Pirate Bay is definitely similar, but TPB was in Sweden. I don't know if their laws are really all that different or if it's just that their courts are more happy to pin blame on someone, but things like this are different from country to country (for now).

Re:Implications for torrent sites? (1)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783288)

Pirate Bay was brought into court on "making available" charges, which exist in Sweden but not other places, notably the US and UK. It was ironic, perhaps, among the lax laws they relied upon they got screwed with one which even a DMCA nation doesn't have.

Re:Implications for torrent sites? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783206)

All I do is really like Google, to really provide a connection between people. None of the music is on my website.

I was a member of Oink. I loved the site and was upset when it got shut down.

Nevertheless, this quote is bunk. It was nothing like Google. It was an exclusive piracy club. He provided an invitation-only portal for members to illegally trade copyrighted material.

Again, I loved the site, but I had no illusions about what it was, and what I was using it for.

Re:Implications for torrent sites? (4, Informative)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783248)

I do not know exactly how oink works (worked?)

It was a private BitTorrent tracker. The torrent files (containing the hashes) were generated by users and uploaded to the site. OiNK tracked the torrents and provided search for its torrents.

Re:Implications for torrent sites? (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783392)

UK government has much more clout against US pressure. They were in bed during the Bush/Blair administration, but that affair was completely consensual.

And there's the House of Lords, which resists bribes^H^H^H^H^H^Hcampaign contributions. Not sure if Sweden has an equivalent, but I'd imagine Swedish nobility is probably poorer than British nobility.

Re:Implications for torrent sites? (3, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783758)

UK government has much more clout against US pressure.

No, I think it's very much the opposite really. Regardless the Labour Party, the ruling junta of the UK, are very committed to the music industry. Many of their backers are from the music industry (and they need every penny right now, they are about to fight an election they can't win, and are near bankrupt). The UK has explored many different ways of dealing with filesharing, and is pretty much committed to a zero tolerance stance.

Fortunately the UK judges may be more wise in this instance that the braindead, thieving cretins who rule the UK.

In Sweden, what ever the laws are, the main issue seemed to be that the judge trying the Pirate Bay was corrupt, and in the pay of a Music Industry pressure group.

However, the reason why that judge may have been selected, the core issue with the Pirate Bay, was that they were, quite literally, asking for it. They taunted and mocked the music industry and the Swedish Justice system. It was only a question of time before someone was going to get them for something. As entertaining as they were, their approach to the situation was astonishingly naive, and guaranteed to get them jail time.

Re:Implications for torrent sites? (1)

Yaotzin (827566) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784252)

Most politicians in Sweden are not rich in that sense. Sure they have good wages but not so much more than that. Besides, the nobility only exist in name and the only special right they have is that others are barred from changing their surnames to one that is used by a noble family. As far as I know, it's fairly rare for nobility to partake in the upper echelons of politics. So in conclusion, I would say yes, it's probably more common to accept bribes in Sweden given that it probably is harder to resist on grounds that are not purely economical. On the other hand, I don't know how rich the nobility is in Britain.

Re:Implications for torrent sites? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783396)

I was a member of Oink. It was a private, invitation only site. It mostly consisted of a large message board where people could post links to stuff they were sharing, or file "wish lists" of stuff they were looking for. If you wanted to boost your ratio, you'd hit these wish lists and try to fill them. Was a nice site, and left a hole when it was taken down.

If you read the article, you'd see that the music industry apparently made use of the site to distribute and promote material as well.

Yeah, I pirate a lot of stuff. I'd also wager that I own more legal CDs, DVDs and Blu-Ray discs than the average person, so I think it balances out. I mostly use pirated stuff to "taste test" new material on my terms (it can take a couple of listens to an entire album sometimes to grow an appreciation of the material). I'm also super picky about quality, so I rarely keep the pirated material "as is" - if it's good and I like it, I seek out and buy the genuine article.

But that's me. I'm glad the Oink guy didn't get pounded into the ground. It was a nice service that I gladly donated to. No regrets.

Re:Implications for torrent sites? (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783562)

Wouldn't that make exactly the same defence valid for Pirate Bay and other torrent sites?

Yes.

Tis a shame The Pirate Bay didn't setup shop in the UK, where this defense is now known valid.

Silly pirates instead setup shop in a country where this is specifically legal to do, exactly so what happened wouldn't happen. I guess in this day and age, you never know who you can trust.

Re:Implications for torrent sites? (3, Interesting)

mariushm (1022195) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783578)

The tracker functionality can also be compared to a DNS server...

Just query [32 char hash key].trackerdomain.com, the DNS returns the IP of one of the seeders, you connect to that IP and retrieve from that seeder a list of peers and seeders. Query same domain after a minute, you get another IP, which gives you another subset of seeders and peers and so on.

A tracker is really the same thing with a DNS server - you let a member add host records and you keep his domain but you're not responsible for the content of the subdomains it creates.

If someone creates a subdomain to his domain called "prodigy", it doesn't mean that person will sell or distribute Prodigy cd's or mp3 files from that subdomain, and the dns server owner doesn't have the content in his control, just like a tracker doesn't store the content of the files.

Re:Implications for torrent sites? (1)

Beerdood (1451859) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783938)

I do not know exactly how oink works (worked?), but from the quote

All I do is really like Google, to really provide a connection between people. None of the music is on my website.

Wouldn't that make exactly the same defence valid for Pirate Bay and other torrent sites?

If Oink was still up and running, I'm guessing they may have had a similar outcome to mininova, where they wouldn't be found guilty of copyright infringement on the basis that they didn't upload any songs themselves, but would have to remove the copyrighted material. Even if that was the trial, wasn't he charged with fraud, and not file distribution / copyright infringement? That becomes a question of whether the people donating were scammed (perhaps into thinking their donations go towards artists).

It's not really fair to compare this with TPB either, which really was created for pirating. Before you mark this as troll, look at their posted legal threats [thepiratebay.org] and cheeky responses, the DJ Joel [allthingsd.com] torrent, and the name "the pirate bay" (cmon, a body of water in Sweden? who are you kidding).

Also, from TFA, he is the first person to be charged in the UK, so the copyright / fraud laws may differ from those in Sweden or the Netherlands

Re:Implications for torrent sites? (1)

mrsmiggs (1013037) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784480)

Oink is not up and runnning as Ellis' computer equipment was taken as evidence [torrentfreak.com] by the police and returned with the hard drives returned. It's amazing to think that Oink pulled in so much money from donations, a site like that could be quite lucrative for the record industry if they found a way to legitmise the business model. But alas only pirates and certain indie record labels will ever get sharing music.

Small correction (3, Informative)

krou (1027572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782956)

Pretty sure when I quoted the article originally it said £18,000, but it's now saying $18,000, which is £11,000.

tasty (1)

JackSpratts (660957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783074)

the waffles have been great but i hope this gets us back to bacon.

Re:tasty (1, Interesting)

zookeeperme (1722156) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783410)

OiNK will never return. The content is outdated, nevermind the fact that the majority of the major seeders dumped all their OiNK torrents as soon as the site went down. Alan would be starting the whole place from scratch. I, for one, can't be bothered to re-upload my library again. Been there, done that. And it's not like the IFPI is going to just forget about him now that he's been found not guilty. The simple fact is that, like you said, the waffles are tasty. The sites that have sprung up in replacement of the pink palace have surpassed what Alan had built. It would be like taking a step backwards in progress. It's really time for everyone to stop living in the past and get on with their e-lives.

The lawyers get paid for a song and dance (1)

Bob_Who (926234) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783080)

Whats the point of law if not to pay courts? If we just leave out the legal action, we're left with less disbursement of cash and tunes. Its the new radio payola scheme.

Oink! (1)

mano.m (1587187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783130)

Capitalist pig.

Strange route to take... (4, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783178)

"Conspiracy to defraud"

Defrauding seems a bit of an odd charge to lay for this. It suggests that he was taking wealth from the record industry for direct personal gain.

The money cam from subscribers. They were not making any money from the file sharing. Even if he had a website that was explicitly dedicated to getting people in contact to fence actually stolen property I'd have thought this would be hard to make stick.

Doesn't UK law have anything along the lines of conspiracy to facilitate copyright infringement?

Re:Strange route to take... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783432)

Doesn't UK law have anything along the lines of conspiracy to facilitate copyright infringement?

No. Conspiracy to commit a crime is itself a crime but conspiracy to commit a tort is legally just gibberish.

Re:Strange route to take... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784404)

Fair enough. In that case the case should never have been brought. The law makes it clear that encouraging copyright infringement is not criminal, therefore it's wrong to try to shoehorn another law in to fit.

Re:Strange route to take... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30784348)

I'm guessing that what he did is utterly legal according to UK law and that the pathetic 'conspiracy to defraud' charge was the only thing they could possibly have a chance at a conviction with. Don't worry I'm sure the new 'digital economy' bill will sort this 'loop hole' out.

Good news (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783252)

Nice to hear a sensible decision on this matter in UK courts, not completely bought by money/power of certain big businesses yet unlike elsewhere.

Stupid corporations (1)

jfp51 (64421) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783630)

The record companies still don't get that I would pay a decent monthly fee for the legal equivalent of something as well organized as Oink was with the same quality control on the files... Not that I have to anyways but I would.

friSt sDtop (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783664)

Anyone tbhat thinks Clothes or be a These early infinitesimally our cause. Gay Software lawyers

Pride (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30784042)

At last we can be proud of someone from the UK doing something right. Well done MF.

Conspiracy? (1)

epo001 (558061) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784346)

"In the criminal law, a conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to break the law at some time in the future, and, in some cases, with at least one overt act in furtherance of that agreement." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conspiracy_(crime) [wikipedia.org]

So how come one person was charged, who was he meant to be conspiring with and why were they not charged as well?

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