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founder of private torrent site, oink.cd acquitted of all charges

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i don't know about you, but i'm shocked by this. for one that it was resolved so quickly. and for another that it was resolved so quickly in favor of the founder. i had an oink membership, and am a member of another private music site. this is good news.

 

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http://www.pcworld.com/article/187001/uk_jury_clears_operator_of_oink_bittorrent_search_engine.html

 

UK Jury Clears Operator of Oink BitTorrent Search Engine

A UK jury acquitted on Friday the operator of a popular BitTorrent search engine that enabled people to download music.

Jeremy Kirk, IDG News Service

Friday, January 15, 2010 09:20 AM PST

 

In a blow to the entertainment industry, a U.K. jury on Friday acquitted the operator of a popular BitTorrent search engine that enabled people to download music.

 

Alan Ellis, 26, was charged with conspiracy to defraud, according to one of his solicitors, Simon Rose of the firm Morgan Rose Solicitors.

 

Ellis, of Middlesbrough, England, ran a site called Oink.cd, a torrent search engine. Torrents are small data files that allow people to download digital content from other people's computers using the BitTorrent protocol and file-sharing programs such as uTorrent.

 

The site was invitation only. Users were expected to share their own files as well as download files or they could be banned.

 

The site was shut down in late 2007 after British police raided Ellis' residence and arrested him. Oink only stored torrent files and not actual songs. Ellis' server also acted as a tracker, which facilitates the download of files using torrents.

 

To prove its case for the charge, government prosecutors needed to show that Ellis dishonestly interfered with the rights of copyright holders, Rose said. Ellis' lawyers argued there was no conspiracy, and that Ellis operated the site in the open.

 

"He didn't hide in a back alley," said Rose, who helped prepare Ellis' defense. "He did it with what he believed were good intentions."

 

Ellis had collected about ₤20,000 (US$36,000) in donations from Oink users, which he planned to use to upgrade his servers for the service, Rose said.

 

A jury in Teesside Crown Court in Middlesbrough acquitted Ellis in less than two hours, Rose said.

 

It's hard to say if the case will set a precedent, as the availability of free music services such as Spotify has changed the music landscape since Oink was shut down, Rose said.

 

"I don't know whether it will really have any impact," Rose said.

 

Ellis could not be immediately reached. The Oink.cd domain was still active as of Friday, with a notice that Ellis had been acquitted.

 

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http://torrentfreak.com/oink-admin-found-not-guilty-walks-free-100115/

 

OiNK Admin Found Not Guilty, Walks Free

Written by enigmax on January 15, 2010

 

Lawyers have presented their final arguments in the trial of Alan Ellis. The prosecution slammed the ex-OiNK admin, saying that the site was set up with dishonest and profiteering intentions right from the start. The defense tore into IFPI and countered by calling Ellis an innovator with talents to be nurtured. Today the jury returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty, and Ellis walked free.

 

After a very long wait of more than two years, last week the OiNK trial got underway with the prosecution making their case against Alan Ellis. This week it was the turn of the defense and yesterday both sides had the opportunity to summarize their positions by submitting their closing arguments to the jury at Teesside Crown Court.

 

Peter Makepeace, prosecuting, naturally painted an extremely negative picture, labeling the Pink Palace as a place designed from the ground up as a personal money-making machine for Ellis.

 

“21 million downloads. 600,000-plus albums. £300,000. This was a cash cow, it was perfectly designed to profit him and it was as dishonest as the day is long,” said Makepeace.

 

It is common sense to come to the conclusion that Oink was dishonest, claimed the prosecution lawyer, adding that Ellis knows that it’s dishonest “to promote, encourage and facilitate criminal activity,” and accusing him of telling the jury “persistent, cunning, calculated lies.”

 

It would, of course, be dishonest to promote “criminal activity”, but Mr Makepeace should be very well aware that the activity engaged in by OiNK’s users is covered under civil law.

 

Switching momentarily from criticism to praise and then back again, Makepeace said that the OiNK website was a “wonderful machine” for sharing music but noted that while the site had a really good brand name, it was a brand synonymous with “ripping off music.”

 

University of London professor Birgitte Andersenok gave evidence earlier in the trial, stating that file-sharing didn’t hurt the music industry and led to more sales. Mr Makepeace trashed her evidence.

 

“It’s nonsense, it’s flannel, it’s verbiage, it’s garbage,” he told the Court.

 

For the defense, Alex Stein said that Ellis had never knowingly acted dishonestly and that in 2004 when OiNK was launched, it was a “brave new world” on the Internet.

 

“In many societies he’d be an innovator, a creator, a Richard Branson. His talent would be moulded, not crushed by some sort of media organization,” he said.

 

The media organization being referred to by Stein was the IFPI, who he said had never requested that OiNK be shut down, and had instead “sat and watched.”

 

Gazette Live reports that Stein went on to launch a scathing attack on the IFPI.

 

“They used this site. Their own members used this site to promote their own music and now they’re crushing him. Maybe he grew too big for them, maybe they’ve taken a different marketing approach. I don’t know. But it was decided that this site should be taken down.

 

“All of us here are being manipulated to some sort of marketing strategy by the IFPI. If anybody’s acting dishonestly it’s them,” he said.

 

At the end of the two week trial the jury returned a unanimous verdict (12 to 0). Alan Ellis is not guilty of Conspiracy to Defraud the music industry. He walked out of Teesside Crown Court a free man today, his name cleared.

 

The verdict cannot be appealed and Ellis can finally put the past behind him and move on.

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I read this earlier. I'm glad he beat the charges, but I have no idea why they went after him for fraud in the first place.

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I read this earlier. I'm glad he beat the charges, but I have no idea why they went after him for fraud in the first place.

 

for sure. if you had any relative knowledge about the structure of the site, you'd know that this was not to make money in any way, shape, or form. the donations were minimal and for the servers (BW don't grow on trees). even still, i thought this would drag out way longer and they'd bust him on something.

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I'm aware of that, but the word "donation" implies that the money was given voluntarily. If he had been selling something and not delivering on his promises then that's one thing, but to say "Hey, this site costs money, whatever you can give would be appreciated" isn't fraud despite what ACTA or the IFPI thinks.

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I agree, but all he did was beat the fraud charge. They can still go after him for copyright infringement.

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