back to article Cops crash invite-only BitTorrent network

Police raids in the North East of England and the Netherlands today have shut down invitation-only BitTorrent music sharing operation Cameras were invited to witness the arrest of a 24-year-old IT worker from Middlesbrough, who is accused of being behind what police branded a "piracy scam". As part of the same Interpol …


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  1. Mark


    Isn't that hacking? Cyber-terrorism? Or is it (like so many things) OK if the rich and powerful do it but not if you did it?

    Kick in the nads is too good for these people.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd like to add

    to add to my previous list about not caring about yobs, crackheads, chavs, and thieves. I'd like to add child abusers (generally in the family -prefering to talk about the phantom predatory pedo ), rapists, burglerors, gangs, people who commit credit card fraud, people who commit online fraud.

    UK.Gov will however invest vast time in arresting and pillaging copyright theives (how do you steal a copyright anyway?) Motorists, people who use water and electricity, people who throw away rubbish, people who like violent porn, people who hold views contrary to the establishment, and a number of other types of easy marks.

    Welcome to UK.Gov

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    .gov is for US government only; is not (yet) part of it.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Given that for legal reasons the man and his employer can't be named what the hell were the police doing inviting camera's along?

    Another nail in the coffin of the legal and justice systems when the police just become another reality TV series.

  5. Mike Wharton

    Downright Lie

    "Members paid donations via debit or credit cards, ensuring their continued access to the site."

    This is verging from twisting the truth to downright lie. Donations continued the running of the site by paying for the hosting, by now means where users required to donate to continue using the site.

    Actually OiNK was one of the few private sites where you COULDNT buy ratio. All you got for donating was a little star next to your name and a few invites.


    ex oinker

  6. Darren Coleman
    Thumb Down

    Re: I'd like to add

    Or - perhaps - there is another division of the Police force dealing with motorists, another dealing with murders/rapes/assaults, etc. Crazy thought I know, it's *much* more convenient for the purposes of an argument to talk about the Police like it's one group of people who wake up in the morning and think "who should I catch today? rapists, murderers, motorists or software pirates?"....

  7. Ash

    Terrible BBC Article

    The BBC news report on this is absolutely terrible ( ).

    They have taken the IFPI and Police press statements, and repeated them, complete with factual corruption and misleading statements.

    Go BBC propaganda :(

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Re: Re: I'd like to add

    "Or - perhaps - there is another division of the Police force dealing with motorists, another dealing with murders/rapes/assaults, etc. Crazy thought I know, it's *much* more convenient for the purposes of an argument to talk about the Police like it's one group of people who wake up in the morning and think "who should I catch today? rapists, murderers, motorists or software pirates?"...."

    Yeah your thoughts are crazy... **SHOCK HORROR** I would rather see police catching rapists and murderers than software pirates or smokers or kids who want to build treehouses..... or even just be on the beat to at least show a presence

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Darren

    Or perhaps the, obviously large, number of police involved in copywrite "theft" could be reallocated to divisions doing proper police work like clearing up rapes, murder, etc.

    That said if I were the guy arrested I wouldn't worry too much as I would just do a quick comparison of crimes and work out my likely sentence:

    1) attacking a 97 year old war veteran, blinding him in one eye = get away scot free (OK then a 3 year "supervision order" which the probation service is too busy to enforce)

    2) letting a few people download some music = oh, I don't know, perhaps a weekend in a luxury spa?

    I've said it before (not here though) and I'll say it again (probably here - sorry) but I am soooooo glad I'm leaving this country.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Darren

    But if you report a real crime to them you get told that it is a civil matter, see a solicitor.

  11. Peter Darby
    Paris Hilton

    er no

    What this then...

    etc etc

    Scotch mist?

  12. James

    I wonder

    ... if the music industry will ever realise that there is a HUGE demand for cheap, high quality, DRM free music.

    Supply and demand, only there's no supply.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Boo hoo

    Boo bloody hoo. What is the world coming too when a group of people commiting an offense actually start to feel the wrath of the law..

    Cue "woe is me, I can no longer pirate music" from the users.

    No sympathy.

  14. Steve Evans
    Paris Hilton

    @Darren Coleman

    Sure the police have different divisions for different crimes, but they all go begging funds from the same bowl.

    How many police were involved in this investigation and raid? How many more police could have been funded to investigate "real" crimes with "real" victims if the money had gone else where?

    It's sad to say, but these days the Police seem more interested in ticking up a mass of profit making speeding fines courtesy of the yellow boxes on poles, than actually having cars on patrol and catching people driving badly/inconsiderately, or heaven forbid, anything more serious.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    leaving the country

    me too, though the fact that this was an Interpol matter doesn't fill me with confidence.

    Surely Interpol have better things to do....and what fraud are they accusing him/them off?

    Unless they were scamming the credit card numbers then a request for donations is not least I hope not or thats the last sponsored event I do for my kids.

    Suppose you could argue that keeping any surplus over the running costs for yourself was misappropriation, but you'd have to prove that it wasn't paying back any defecit in prior months.

  16. John Dow

    Leaving the country.

    I did that. I then discovered that, actually, everywhere is a bit shit compared to scotland.

    Anyone want a .au visa?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Members paid donations via debit or credit cards, ensuring their continued access to the site."

    Bull. As an ex-oinker I can tell you than you didn't have to pay to download anything. With a massive userbase only a fraction of that actually ever bothered to donate money and all the money was for was to help pay for keeping the site up! You weren't allowed to buy ratio or anything. Also, why is Interpol in on this? Last I checked they only delt with Terrorism, War Crims, Illicit Drug Production, Weapons Smuggling, Trafficking Humans, Money Laundering, Child Porn, White-Collar Crime, Computer Crime, Intellectual Property crime, Organized Crime and Corruption with in Government...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    No, it's, not

    read message, engage brain, reply... You only missed one stage :)

  19. Anonymous Coward


    What Mike says is true, OiNK never once asked for donations to continue membership, it was always completely free, they only took donations to keep the site afloat. You would earn your continued access by seeding the torrents you found the links to on their site, ratio / upload could not be bought, that was one of the sites key principles.

    AS ALWAYS media giants twist the truth to make this Middlesborough IT technician look like satan himself wearing a shirt and tie.

    Come on Reg, you can do better than broadcasting blatant lies, you guys are supposed to be on OUR side, not theirs!

    Jason - Another ex-oinker.

  20. Vernon Lloyd

    And just down the road......

    ......are 3 pedophiles busy talking to our young people on the internet, half a dozen youths with 'street cred' sorry i mean knives and a 9mm, while a drunk driver is speeding down a road near a just finished school.

    But WELL done you caught a a software pirate who is SO much more dangerous than the above.

    As long as the frigging Taxman is happy eh?

    More from the US coming here

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Absolutely typical

    The police do their job (which is to prevent crime) and they get crapped on. Yes, stealing copyright material is a crime. The sooner the freeloaders realise that the better for the rest of us, maybe the police can get back to doing the more serious tasks already outlined.

    It really is not that difficult.If you can't / won't pay for it, then you can't fucking well have it. That stands true even in the digital world.

  22. robert
    Thumb Down

    poor source

    TorrentFreak has a better article on this incident. It should be noted that the UK does not care if friends are sharing music via the internet. These people got in trouble because they were sharing stolen music before it had been released. The copyright infringement doesn't seem to be the primary reason the UK arrested these guys and instead is because the media itself was illegally released.

  23. Aaron

    Nothing has changed

    Well done, one source of pre-release music has been taken down now the IFPI can rest easy knowing that pre-release music will still be on the net :)

    Seriously even if its down to minimum wage joe buying the CD ripping it and uploading it on the net, music is still gonna be shared.

    Even if all music piracy on the internet was stopped people are still going to copy the cd's or even just lend them to their friends or even recording it off the radio.

    People will end up listening to music for free they have been doing long before music piracy on the internet and they will be doing for a very long time to come still. If you can listen to it you can copy it.

    Dont get me wrong im not saying that piracy is totally ok, but on the scales of things the teenager at home who is gonna ether copy the music he's listening to off the net or any other method.

    I don't think that he's more of criminal than the drug dealers/rapists/pedo's out there, and I would prefer my tax money that goes to the police to be spent going after those people instead. Perhaps if the police focused more resources on the more serious crimes they wouldn't have lost forensic samples and left a child abuser run loose for years.

  24. Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)


    "Come on Reg, you can do better than broadcasting blatant lies, you guys are supposed to be on OUR side, not theirs!"

    I preferred to let the police's and the IFPI's comments tie their own noose, and trust Reg readers to be savvy enough to see through the spin. I'm glad you do. Cheers,

    Chris Williams

    El Reg

  25. Steve
    Thumb Up


    "Yes, stealing copyright material is a crime".

    Well, no, it's not. Firstly they didn't steal the copyright, they infringed it. If they'd stolen it then they would have been trying to sell the legal rights to distribute the music, not just allowing anyone to download it.

    And secondly, copyright infringement in the UK is a civil matter, not a criminal one. Hence the overblown charges about fraud, without those they'd probably have no grounds for an arrest at all, just a civil prosecution not involving the police or any cameras.

  26. Lickass McClippers

    How... this an "extremely lucrative and creative scheme"..?? Creative it may have been, but I fail to see how it was 'lucrative'.

    I get the nasty suspicion that these people think there's money being made out of P2P/file sharing. My experience has shown me that this isn't the case. The only money invovled is that that ISN'T being made by the theiving Corporations. Tough-fucking-luck I say to them, charge fair prices for what the people ACTUALLY want, and you'll kill off a huge % of P2P/file sharing activity...

  27. Dunstan Vavasour
    Paris Hilton

    Fair target, but misrepresentation undermines their case

    IF this individual was an essential part of a community which facilitated wide scale illegal copying, then it's entirely reasonable for action to be taken.


    a) the misrepresentation by IFPI of the nature of the community (implying membership fees) undermines their position (Google for "straw man fallacy nizkor")

    b) the regurgitation of this press release by BBC online, so soon after the Ronnie Hazlehurst débacle, is inexcusable

    c) if it is true that the police invited cameras (no apostrophe) to the arrest, you might wonder the devil is going on.

    Finally, a question for BPI: you claim to be losing sales because of illegal copying. Is that because downloaded copies are displacing legitimate sales, or because the quality of the content can be discovered *before* shelling out for a legitimate copy and then being disappointed?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This move will achieve nothing.

    This move will achieve nothing since most P2P users will simply switch to other Bittorrent networks and use TOR to connect to the trackers to give a limited measure of anonymity.

    This attack on the Bittorent network is likely to backfire on the record companies by encouraging the use of ANts. ANtsP2P is a 3rd generation file sharing system which both anonymizes and encrypts traffic.

  29. Charlie



    How many people have been arrested for running torrent indexes this year?

    How many murderers/rapists have been arrested this year?

    A HANDFUL of people get arrested, and suddenly a group of nutters start raging about how the police are always following poor pirates and never do any real work. You guys have no idea of perspective.

  30. Morely Dotes
    Dead Vulture

    Re: Blasphemy

    "Come on Reg, you can do better than broadcasting blatant lies, you guys are supposed to be on OUR side, not theirs!"

    El Reg is on the side of whoever pays for advertising. Last I looked, that wasn't the consumer.

    Trust no one. Particularly do not trust those who pretend to be your friends, but take money from yoru enemies.

  31. Timothy Tuck

    There goes my ability to convert my vinyl collection

    I have been buying vinyl now for well over 30 years and have amassed a huge collection, i swore off CD's years ago as it never felt right as a DJ to play CD's.

    I have a garage full of crates of vinyl. Or as DJ's call it, Black Crack. During my most serious years i was spending 400 dollars a month just on vinyl.

    There is a HUGE problem with that though. CD's can be ripped to MP3's in a matter of minutes, Vinyl you must do in real time. Basically there is no way to rip all of my Vinyl to MP3 that would not take literally several years if not decades.

    I managed to rip the few hundred CD's i had purchased over the years in less than a week. I have been using Oink to help get the songs i have on vinyl in MP3 format.

    Dj'ing has changed so much and my original reasons for never buying a CD now trap me. I purchased a Conectiv Torq MP3 mixer earlier this year, i never did nor will i ever know how many vinyl records i did have or what songs i had. Never really understood how much music i had. MP3's has changed all of that.

    Now they (RIAA) have gone and fucked up that too. I find myself now with a really fucked up reality that if i want to convert the remaining vinyl i have to MP3's that to do a 20 minute record i get to spend 40 minutes to do it, and that is assuming it works the first pass.

    Because of this i will NEVER buy another release from any major label if i can help it. I will only support the small independent Labels out there OR the artist directly and only if i can download it in a high bitrate MP3 format.

    In the words of Bender, They can bite my shiny metal ass!

  32. Matt Ballance

    Justice for the highest bidder

    Unfortunately, so long as politicians hold the purse strings, groups that have the money to lobby/give to those politicians will be able to direct the expenditures of law enforcement. The music industry has money to throw around, and will do so as long as the politicians will take it. The politicians will pressure the police to spend time and effort on their issues, and the hard criminals will continue to exist as they do now. Too bad most families of victims don't have the financial ability to get the attention of the politicians.

    Perhaps it's time to remove the criminal penalties and make all intellectual property crimes a civil matter and let the police go back to real crimes. Then, the lawyers get to pay for the investigations and the prosecutions.

  33. mike Banks

    Piracy does cost

    Most of us in the industry are not high rollers. Over the last few years the numbers of people involved in creating/recording music etc have been getting less and less and earning a living has been getting harder and harder. I know several talented producers that gave up and have become carpenters etc. Copyright infringement etc is costing thousands of people their jobs.

    As an example. An idie dub artist/producer that used to make a modest living releasing his and others music on his indie label used to press up a few thousand copies and they would sell well. Generally, over a few years he would sell as many again with a second pressing. Now, the first release sells but that's it, once it's out there no one orders back copies. He is still gigging and attendance at gigs grows so it's not that he is washed up. Same with all of the new acts he has.

    Major labels have been slow to respond to the market and have done so much wrong but it's the little guy's that have been suffering from illegal downloading. Indie labels haven't a chance really.

    I don't think there is much wrong with downloading and then buying what you really like and play more than a few times, kids have always recorded off the radio but when people get in to the 'why pay' mindset, the only people to suffer otherthan the little guy's are the public who will get cheap pap released by the majors.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Didn't pay a penny.

    As another ex-oinker, I too can confirm that nobody paid "subscription fees" as mentioned in the blatant propaganda release from the rozzers.

    The site was invite only, with an option to donate towards running costs and also to have the option to leave an account dormant for a longer period before deletion.

    The rules made it quite clear that there was no way to purchase ratio to offset the amount downloaded.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Boosts the clear-up rate

    Remember our Police are now judged by and are obsessed with statistics. This guy will get hammered with tons of offences so the Police will probably end up having "solved" over a hundred crimes in a single bust. In contrast arresting the rapist who attacked a single victim only gets them one solved crime and they have to do hard work rather than just kicking some guy's door in and sending his computers off to "the lab." When the Home Secretary and Chief Constable are breathing down their necks to produce "measurable results" which do you think they're going to do? That's also why you get told things are "civil matters." That way they don't get recorded and end up as unsolved crimes.

    If you download media illegally and want to draw attention to yourself and raise the chances of getting busted I can't think of many better ways than dealing in pre-release material. The owner will be far more pissed and the list of people involved will be smaller. Reminds me of what my dad told me about speeding when I learned to drive: "Always make sure there's somebody in the fast lane going a bit faster than you."

    Given the two things above if you're an ex-OinKer I wouldn't be surprised if you too get a visit or a nastygram from the IFPI once those servers get analysed, particularly if you were the original seed of one of "those" torrents.

  36. Cosmo


    Whilst some people are up in arms about the police wasting their time arresting people for downloading (and it appears that the initial reports were negative-PR spin), can you really be surprised that they want to crack down on people sharing pre-release music?

  37. Anonymous Coward

    @Steve Evans

    Steve, please, please, please ensure you know what you're talking about before you... ermmm... talk.

    > these days the Police seem more interested in ticking up a mass of profit making speeding fines courtesy of the yellow boxes on poles, than actually having cars on patrol and catching people driving badly/inconsiderately, or heaven forbid, anything more serious.

    How much do you think police forces get from speeding fixed penalties? 90%? 75%? 10%..?

    The answer is... nothing. Nada. Zilch. Not a penny. F*ck all. Camera safety partnerships used to deduct the actual costs of running these schemes when "hypothecation" was in place, but that period has now finished. Schemes actually COST money to run, and every penny goes directly to the Treasury.

    And your concern with the absence of "cars on patrol"? Are you aware that over half of the entire police service will be leaving over the next five years, because of massive recruitment in the late 1970s? The whole point of Community Support Officers is that you are now seeing the new "police force" - two-tier policing on the cheap - just the same process whereby unregistered auxiliaries have replaced registered nurses, and classroom assistants have replaced real teachers... and, boy, are we suffering as a consequence! People dying of infections through filthy wards, huge numbers of illiterate school-leavers, ....

    Welcome to the Third Millenium!

  38. Guy Heatley

    @Mike Banks

    Surely this is just like complaining that the invention of the internal combustion engine is putting all the horse-shoe manufacturers out of business!

    It is the business model that is wrong: The media corps are trying to continue to trade using a business model that grew up in the 20thC, before ones and zeros. This business model *doesn't apply any more*, and trying to force it to apply will (in my opinion) ultimately prove futile.

    While they still have the money and power they will:- pay off politicians to pass idiotic laws, - try to inflict draconian punishments on the handful of people they catch to scare others, - come up with obviously unworkable DRM schemes etc etc.

    This is protectionism of their market, and of course they will try anything to prolong the gravy train. What do you expect? They are not easily going to accept the fact that they are no longer needed

  39. James

    @ mike Banks

    Your argument about the indies is an interesting one, but completely flawed. Independent labels - and I'm thinking here of Beggar's Banquet for one example and Warp for another - are doing very nicely out of the digital distribution revolution, thank you very much. Their manufacturing and distribution costs go down, and they can make the same profit but charge the consumer a lower price, increasing the viability of their product. Hell, they can even hit up iTunes and play alongside the big boys in the search results, if not the promoted index, without paying a distributor. Try that with HMV. The smart indies are signing up with services like the Playlouder MSP and getting a chunk of revenue for doing nothing but accepting the new reality. And crucially, they've recognised for years what the majors are still reluctantly coming round to: No-one wants DRM-encumbered music.

    It's very sad that your friend finds his business failing but that's an artefact of his failure to identify a changing market and use one of the hundreds of off-the-shelf solutions for doing what the market wants and distributing his content digitally. He can join the wax cylinder manufacturers and cry into his anachronisms all he likes.

  40. Jon Brindley

    Intelligent, tolerant society

    Did someone actually honestly and really post a link to the Daily Mail site?

    Did they do it ironically?

  41. Anonymous Coward

    Seems to be darwin in action

    looks like the police / RIAA etc all are just forcing the evolution of file sharing into a truly anonymous form. Very quickly the only ones getting caught doing things like hosting pre release music and movies are the muppets who don't know any better... want to bet the encrypted P2P networks get a massive influx of new users over the next six months? exactly the same thing happened with the take down of napster , the networks evolved into a decentralised system. The rise of bittorrent and ADSL / Broadband gives the public the ability to download massive ammounts of content, high prices means most people would download some MP3's instead of buying a CD.

    I expect to see a heavely encrypted and anonymous P2P network capable of Bittorrent download speeds and a massive user base arrise in the next 12 months, all the components are coming together, it just needs some time to form.

  42. Matt Ashworth

    MC Hammer

    Hammer Time!

    ...sorry couldn't help myself. Coat. Door.

  43. Chris Cheale

    @Timothy Tuck

    erm.... actually, unless I'm mistaken there's no "fair use" in English law that allows you copy music you already own from one medium to another. Therefore ripping CDs or vinyl to MP3 is just as illegal as downloading it in the first place via a torrent... unless of course you're not in England but a less restrictive country, like China perhaps.

    I wonder if Microsoft could be prosecuted under English law for "inducing" copyright theft by having a "Rip" button in Media Player?

  44. Anonymous Coward

    Boo Hiss

    A bad week for those evil pirates who have been destroying the very fabric of society. First TV Links closed down and now OiNK.

    Aside from eMule, torrents, etc, has anybody out there got any suggestions of other good places that one could, err, theoetically, err, evaluate music, films, TV, etc? Purely for research purposes of course.

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