Over six months have passed since the popular private BitTorrent tracker OiNK was raided in a joint effort by Dutch and British law enforcement. Today, the bail date for OiNK admin Alan Ellis has been extended for the third time, now until the 1st of July.
Cleveland police initially stated that the charges against Alan would be announced December 2007, but this was soon postponed for two months due to a lack of evidence. Interestingly, the police did return OiNK’s servers at the time, after they erased the hard drives. In February the bail date was extended for the second time, only to be extended yet again today.
TorrentFreak contacted Cleveland Police, but we were told that there was was no one available at the press office who could comment on the bail extension. Most likely, they need more time to gather evidence from the computers, laptop and mobile phones they still have in their possession.
OiNK was considered by many to be the finest BitTorrent music tracker the world has ever seen. The site tracked hundreds and thousands of torrents of the finest recordings, from virtually every musical genre. With millions of peers, it was more popular than most public trackers.
Jeremy Banks, Head of the IFPI’s Internet Anti-Piracy Unit described OiNK differently, and said the site 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,” he said.
Based on information from IFPI and others, Cleveland police claimed that OiNK was a money machine, and that Alan was making hundreds of thousands of pounds. The people who actually visited OiNK, however, know that the site was free to use. This 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 feed the police “misleading” information, they also took over the OiNK.cd domain and displayed an ominous message indicating an investigation into the site’s users had begun. These threats were intended to scare former OiNK members, and they succeeded in this until OiNK reclaimed the domain.
With the third extension in a row, 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.