In October 2007, Operation Ark Royal achieved its aims. OiNK, one of the largest and most prestigious BitTorrent trackers, was shut down in a joint effort by British and Dutch law enforcement.
Site administrator Alan Ellis was arrested immediately and eventually charged with conspiracy to defraud. Five others, who were arrested months later, were accused of uploading music to others via the site.
Four of the uploaders plead guilty at Teesside Crown Court last December, where they were all charged with copyright infringement offenses. The four have now been sentenced.
Steven Diprose was sentenced to 180 hours community service, and has to pay £378 in Court costs. Michael Myers was ordered to pay a £500 fine. Mark Tugwell has to undertake 100 hours community service and has to pay £378 Court costs. The fourth uploader, James Garner was sentenced to 50 hours community service and also has to pay £378 Court costs.
For one other uploader and OiNK admin Allan Ellis the wait continues. Their cases have been adjourned and they will appear before court in March.
A source close to one of the convicted uploaders told TorrentFreak in a response: “[The Judge] swallowed the prosecution line completely that initial seeders were causing major damage to the copyright holders, and particularly uploaders who uploaded before the official release date. The fact that all the early uploads were only 1 or 2 days early and that 3 out 4 of the uploaders bought their CDs online did not sway him. All the retailers, quite naturally, denied this.”
We were further told that, if the defendants had not had such good references and strong legal representation, the Judge would have seriously considered a custodial sentence. This ruling, the first of its kind in the UK, will most certainly be used as a precedent for future cases.
Developing story, more info will be added later.