After being in quiet development for some months, in September the Mulve music downloading app hit the mainstream. Very quickly everything went sour, with British police swooping on the guy who registered the Mulve domain and placing him under arrest on a range of charges from copyright infringement through to conspiracy to defraud. Today we can report the outcome. For once it’s good news.
In September, the Mulve music downloading app burst onto the scene. It carried no music of its own, but instead allowed users to download material from servers owned by Russia’s biggest social networking site, Vkontakte.
After being very well received and its existence reported in dozens of news outlets, in early October things took a turn for the worse. TorrentFreak learned that police in the UK had arrested an individual in connection with the application and we were told in no uncertain terms – Mulve was finished.
For the first time, we can now reveal exactly what happened.
“On the 6th of October, at approximately 8am a group of unidentified men entered my apartment and only later identified themselves as police officers. They then went ahead to confiscate all my electronic equipment. Laptops, flash drives, cell phones etc.”
These are the words of Eric, the guy who registered the Mulve domain and the person we referred to in our earlier articles under the pseudonym ‘John’. Eric had nothing whatsoever to do with the coding of Mulve, another individual was responsible.
“I am the sole author of the program. Eric has never even seen the source code, neither does he know how to program,” Mulve coder ms3arch told TorrentFreak earlier. “The reason they went for Eric was because the domain was in his name for 1 day.”
Eric confirmed this morning that the authorities had indeed tracked him through a non-private WHOIS listing. He’d also innocently revealed his identity in videos and elsewhere.
After being taken away for questioning, the grounds for Eric’s arrest were explained:
- Copyright Infringement
- Conspiracy to Defraud (the same charges which failed so massively against OiNK)
- Distributing an article which would cause loss of money to third parties
Eric informed us that what followed was 6 weeks of police bail. Fortunately, as no incriminating evidence was found to support the accusations levelled against him (surprise, surprise), Eric has now been told he is free to go. He will have to wait for the return of all his equipment though, that won’t return until next week.
One has to wonder if these actions in the UK should be allowed to continue. The police are clearly being influenced and pressured by the music industry to take action, and they are taking the bait – hook, line and sinker. If the industry is so convinced they can get a conviction, perhaps they should try to do so through the civil courts where the burden of proof is much lower?
As it stands the British tax-payer is picking up the bill for these pointless efforts which achieve nothing other than to turn the lives of people like Eric upside down and raise awareness of services such as those offered by Vkontakte.
“Here’s a public thanks to all the readers and individuals who made this ordeal easier for us,” says Eric as he puts this ordeal behind him.
What will follow from Eric now is a new and completely legal music project. Eric is very, very keen to stay absolutely on the right side of the law this time. Of course, we’ll keep everyone informed.