OiNK Users Arrested, Charged With Conspiracy To Defraud The Music Industry

noah | June 2, 2008 11:15 am

The UK’s Cleveland Police have confirmed to TorrentFreak that last month they arrested six users of shuttered BitTorrent site OiNK, which broke the Internet’s heart when it was shut down by British authorities last October. All six of the arrested ex-OiNKers are being accused of releasing pre-release music to the site; whether they are being targeted for having leaked major-label releases only is unclear. All six–five men and one women, all between the ages of 19 and 33–were charged with “conspiracy to defraud the music industry” and are currently out on bail. TorrentFreak has more on the charges (obligatory warning to take any hyperbole within the description with a grain of salt goes here):

It seems the music industry’s desire to paint OiNK as a criminal network focused on the ruination of the music business, has so far led them to direct the police into arresting users who allegedly pre-released albums, i.e shared albums before their stated retail release date. As mentioned in our previous article, there are no laws in the UK which give extra gravity to pre-release cases, but the music industry seems keen to portray this type of copyright infringement as being much more serious. It has been their theme since the day of the original raid and shutdown of OiNK.

Many observers have been questioning for some time now why the police are involved in this case when it’s believed users of the site committed only civilly actionable offenses at best. It’s clear that simple copyright infringement isn’t what the music industry has in mind.

Those accused were visited by detectives involved with ‘Operation Ark Royal’, sometimes accompanied by local police. After identification, they were arrested under suspicion of “Conspiracy to Defraud the Music Industry”, told that they were not alone and that police would be arresting and interviewing more people in connection with the case. Suspects were then taken to their local police station for questioning and required to provide DNA samples and fingerprinting.

During their interview the suspects were asked all about OiNK, their understanding of the purpose of the site and what they did as a user there. The police were also keen to discover if these alleged pre-releasers personally knew OiNK admin, Alan Ellis, which of course – like the majority of OiNK members – they didn’t.

British Police Confirm OiNK Arrests [TorrentFreak; HT The Daily Swarm] OinK Pre-Releasers Accused Of Conspiracy To Defraud Music Industry [TorrentFreak] Earlier: All the OiNK coverage from last year]