Three months ago, the popular private BitTorrent tracker OiNK was effectively shut down in a joint effort by Dutch and British law enforcement. Today, the bail date for OiNK admin Alan Ellis has been extended for the second time, until the 6th of May.
OiNK was considered by many to be the best BitTorrent music tracker the world has ever seen. With 180,000 members it was without a doubt one of the most popular private BitTorrent trackers. OiNK hosted hundreds and thousands of torrents and tracked over a million peers, which made it more popular than most public trackers.
Jeremy Banks, Head of the IFPI’s Internet Anti-Piracy Unit described it differently, as he said at the time: “OiNK was central to the illegal distribution of pre-release music online. This was not a case of friends sharing music for pleasure. This was a worldwide network that got hold of music they did not own the rights to and posted it online.”
Among other things, the police claimed that OiNK was a money machine, and that Alan was making hundreds of thousands of pounds. However, everyone knows that OiNK was free to use and this fact was backed up by Trent Reznor, the frontman of Nine Inch Nails: “If OiNK cost anything, I would certainly have paid, but there isn’t the equivalent of that in the retail space right now.”
The IFPI and BPI did not only misinform the police, they also hijacked the OiNK.cd domain and displayed an ominous message indicating an investigation into the site’s users had begun. These propagandistic threats were supposed to scare former OiNK members, and they succeeded in this until OiNK reclaimed the domain.
With today’s extension, the speculation about potential charges continues. At the moment it remains unclear what evidence the police are trying to find, but I assume they have figured out by now that the site is not as evil as the IFPI and BPI wanted them to believe.
To be continued.