In 2007 the admin of the eDonkey link site ‘ShareConnector’ was found not guilty in a criminal trial that was built around a lead from the dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN. Now, nearly five years after the case started and two years after the initial court ruling, the Department of Justice announced that it will appeal the verdict.
Back in 2004, when most BitTorrent sites had only a handful of regular visitors, ShareConnector was serving eDonkey links to millions of file-sharers every month. This popularity didn’t go unnoticed by the local authorities, who were tipped off by BREIN and started a criminal investigation into the admin of ShareConnector, as well as the people behind the site Releases4U.
BREIN had successfully convinced the FIOD-ECD – Fiscal Investigation Unit of the Dutch Police – to shut down both sites and take the servers into custody for a thorough inspection, hoping to find traces of criminal activities.
When the case finally went to court, the result for BREIN and the FIOD-ECD was a disaster. The admin of ShareConnector was found completely innocent and just a couple of small fines of approximately $350 were handed out to the admins of Releases4U for uploading copyright material.
The court ruled that FIOD-ECD failed to provide any evidence to prove ShareConnector was involved in copyright infringement nor enough to prove that either organization was criminal in nature. In addition, the judge ruled that the initial arrests were unlawful as the evidence provided by BREIN was insufficient.
Despite this setback the Department of Justice announced back in 2007 that it would appeal the verdict, but in the years that followed nothing happened, until today. More than two years after the ShareConnector admin was released from all charges, the Department of Justice filed the appeal.
One can only wonder why it took this long. The case itself and the evidence presented during the trial hasn’t changed. In fact, the only thing that’s changed is the media attention on file-sharing cases and the increased efforts of organizations such as BREIN to take on sites that host links to copyright infringing works.
The ShareConnector admin, who briefly put his site back online in 2007 before BREIN managed to close it through a civil dispute, told TorrentFreak that he was surprised to find out that the case will be appealed after all.
“It’s understandable that the DoJ tries everything in their power to cover up their illegal, unprofessional and unfair doings by spreading misinforming propaganda in the mainstream news. They can’t deal with such issues because they don’t know what the Internet is about, nor do they seem to care,” the admin told TorrentFreak.
“They failed before and they will fail again. It’s about time they realize that you can’t control the future, if you don’t understand the past,” he added.
Besides the appeal of the criminal trial, ShareConnector will also be facing BREIN again as the site’s admin decided to appeal the earlier decision that forced him to close the site. “This year is really packed with lawsuits for me with hopefully some conclusive results about the legality of eD2k indexing sites in the Netherlands,” he writes.