Oink Founder Acquitted Of Conspiracy To Defraud In File Sharing Case

Allan Elis, the founder of popular Bit Torrent tracker, Oink.cd, has been unanimously acquitted of conspiracy to defraud by a jury at Teesside Crown court, causing some to murmur that Britons are far more relaxed in how they view illegal file sharing.

A spokesperson for the BPI, which represents the music industry, said that the verdict was "hugely disappointing" since Mr Elis reportedly made nearly £200,000, stashed away in ten separate bank accounts, by "exploiting other people's work without permission".

He went on to add that "the case shows that artists and music companies need better protection".

Even copyright expert for law firm Beachcroft LLP, Robin Fry, acknowledged in a statement to Webuser that "This acquittal shows that criminal prosecutions for file-sharing are notoriously difficult to prove. Those running the networks don't store and distribute the music and the films – they just supply the software.

The 26-year old, Middlesborough-based, software engineer ran the website formerly known as Oink's Pink Palace, from his flat and managed to recruit more than 180,000 members.

The site was closed in October 2007 by Interpol and other law enforcement agencies as a part of an investigation dubbed Operation Ark Royal but not after more than 21 million music tracks with a market value of around £20m were exchanged in three years.

Our Comments

Although Mr Ellis did not ask for money, he encouraged users to make donation. Furthermore, he told the court that he had no intention of defrauding copyright holders which is a very candid statement given that he received around £11,000 a month in donations. So will Oink.cd come back again?

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