OiNK Owner Found Not Guilty by British Court

OiNK Owner Found Not Guilty by British Court
It's been a decade since Metallica sued Napster, but still the music industry continues to wage its war against the file sharers. One of the latest targets was OiNK, a torrent-sharing website that launched in 2004 and operated for three years until it was shut down by police in 2007.

Following the website's closure, founder Alan Ellis was charged with conspiracy to defraud, but on Friday (January 15), a British court found that he was not guilty.

The 26-year-old English software engineer stated that he did not start the website as an attempt to defraud copyright holders, instead explaining that it began as a way to remain competitive in the field of software programming.

"It was to further my skills. To better my skills for employability," the BBC quotes Ellis as saying.

Another likely reason for the ruling was the fact that OiNK didn't actually host any files on its servers, instead allowing users to download files from one another. This meant that it was actually the website's users who shared copyrighted data; in 2008, several OiNK users were sentenced to fines and community service.

The court learned that Ellis had a PayPal account containing $300,000 in donations from OiNK users, discovering that he had earned $18,000 per month during the website's operation. Ellis explained that the donations were used to pay for webspace, and that all money left over was to be put towards purchasing a server.

Of course, Ellis probably ended up using donations to pay for his legal fees, and judging by the ruling made on Friday, it appears that money was well spent.