UK jury clears operator of Oink BitTorrent search engine

The jury rendered a not guilty verdict for Oink's Alan Ellis in less than two hours

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.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags bittorrentpiracy

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?