OiNK Creator Fends off Music Industry Claims

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Middlesbrough software engineer Alan Ellis can rest a little easier today, having been cleared defrauding thousands of pounds from recoding artists around the globe. The creator of one of the world’s biggest pirate music websites – OiNK – had been the target of the massed hordes of the music industry since police raided his home over two years ago.

Probably not Alan Ellis in that costume, but you get the idea

However, a jury at Teesside Crown Court unanimously cleared the software engineer of a single charge of conspiracy to defraud. Ellis set up OiNK as a student in 2004 but by the time the police came knocking on his door in October 2007 authorities were suspicious of his dealings as his bank statements showed a tidy sum of £185,000 in his accounts.

The Daily Telegraph reports that officers also discovered that the site had 200,000 members, who had downloaded around 21 million music files. Ellis’ defence rested on the fact that the site didn’t host any music himself and that the cash in his accounts had nothing to do with defrauding artists of their hard earned money.

Instead, OiNK received money via the site because users were required to make a donation to be able to invite friends to join it. Giving evidence, Mr Ellis said: “I didn’t have an intention [in setting up the site]. I was furthering my skills as a programmer, as a software engineer. [It was] to better my skills for employability.”

The British Recorded Music Industry (BPI), the body which represents the country’s record labels, said it was disappointed by the verdict. It said in a statement: “This is a hugely disappointing verdict which is out of line with decisions made in similar cases around the world. The defendant made nearly £200,000 by exploiting other people’s work without permission. The case shows that artists and music companies need better protection.”

Ellis said he never intended to defraud copyright holders and that donations made by users were to cover the server’s rental costs. Any surplus of funds was intended for buying a server, he said. UK copyright laws are set to tighten over the coming year though, indeed the Ellis verdict came in the wake of a recent publication of an open letter from senior figures from the music, film and television industries supporting Lord Mandelson’s controversial plans to grant the government powers to change copyright law to tackle new forms of online piracy.

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2 Responses to “OiNK Creator Fends off Music Industry Claims”

  1. Wizartar Says:

    They need to go after him for Tax now! 🙂

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