Back in 2004, ShareConnector was an eDonkey force to be reckoned with. As purely a link site (like the vast majority of BitTorrent sites), ShareConnector carried no copyright materials. However, this didn’t stop Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN from pressurizing the FIOD-ECD – Fiscal Investigation Unit of the Dutch Police – to investigate and eventually shut down ShareConnector.
Initially, ShareConnector’s host had refused to shut down the site stating correctly that offering links is not a crime. However December 2004 saw ShareConnector and another site, Releases4U, raided by the FIOD-ECD, resulting in the seizure of equipment and the arrest of 8 people. At the time, BREIN director Tim Kuik explained they were done waiting: “Our patience was up, after which we went to the authorities” he said.
According to P2PNet, Kuik, going for the jugular, asserted that the ShareConnector admin, Adi, should get up to 4 years in jail as he hid behind ‘false reasoning that illegal files are actually hosted on different servers and that the actual exchange doesn’t take place on their own servers’, which is, of course, a completely and utterly false assertion on Kuik’s part.
Eventually, after taking nearly 2 years to come 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 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.
December 19th 2006 saw the triumphant return of ShareConnector, around 2 years after it was shuttered by the police but the return was not to be permanent. Not content with accepting that a criminal trial had taken place at which Adi and ShareConnector were found to be completely legal, BREIN resorted to the tactics it knows best and has had most success with – common bullying.
On Monday November 5th 2007, representatives from BREIN knocked on Adi’s door and threatened him face to face with potentially financially punishing civil action. On November 12th 2007, ShareConnector shut down for good.
The sad message on the site’s homepage now reads:
Last Monday the guys from BREIN visited me at home to convince me to close ShareConnector or else they will start a civil proceeding with a claim. Of course, this does not mean I agree with their point of view, it’s just that I can’t afford taking any risks.
As of today, November 12, 2007 I decided to close down. If there is anything new to report, you will be informed.
Thank you for all your support and understanding.
Next on the FIOD-ECD hitlist are OiNK’s seized servers. They’re likely to find that the situation is exactly the same as it was with ShareConnector, i.e no copyright materials were stored on it, so it’s not easy to see where they will succeed against OiNK where they previously failed. There is no offense of ‘facilitation’ under UK copyright law.