OiNK founder Alan Ellis stated after his arrest for conspiracy to defraud and copyright infringement “I haven’t done anything wrong. I don’t believe my website breaks the law. They don’t understand how it works . . . I don’t sell music to people, I just direct them to it. If somebody wants to illegally download music they are going to do it whether my site is there or not . . . My site is no different to something like Google . . . If Google directed someone to a site they can illegally download music they are doing the same as what I have been accused of. I am not making any Oink users break the law. People don’t pay to use the site.” That would be true if Google were a members-only site organized to facilitate sharing of copyrighted music, where membership status was determined based on the quantity of content one made available for other members.
Members-only music-sharing site OiNK was shut down yesterday by British and Dutch police as part of an Interpol investigation. Police arrested a 24 year old man from Middlesborough, England, raided the man’s employer and home of the man’s father, and seized OiNK’s servers in Amsterdam. OiNK, a BitTorrent tracker, “hosted hundreds and thousands of torrents with over a million peers” and was a popular source for leaked pre-release albums. It’s invitation-only membership policy gave OiNK cachet and, ostensibly, greater security from music industry attack. No more. I’m curious to know more about how Interpol built its case.