OiNK Admin: ‘The Logs We Store Aren’t Enough to Incriminate Users’

Speaks out for the first time on IRC and in an interview with the Telegraph about his arrest, the merits of the case against him, and what former users can expect in the future. .

It’s been 3 days now since Alan Ellis, the 24yo admin of OiNK was busted, and the site’s servers seized. Since then, many of us have been wondering what happened to him as well as what’s in store for users of the site.

Well, in a recent chat on IRC he answered a few questions about his arrest and the the status of OiNK’s users logs.

what was the stupidest question they asked?

the police had very limited technical knowledge, which made the interview quite amusing actually.
i wasn’t willing to teach them how to use a computer
they actually wanted me to teach them how to set up a website
i just told them to google it.

do you think at minimum the forums will be restored as a community for discussing music?

i don’t know

Are there any plans for an official OiNK donations fund we can feel comfortable donating to?

not yet

seriously though, what did they accuse you of?

conspiracy to defraud and copyright infringements

are you planned for a trial anytime soon?

the earliest date for trial is 26th december – though highly unlikely

are you still the rightful owner of the oink.cd domain?


did you anticipate a raid in the past? Did you take any precautions regarding site design and logs and whatnot to protect the community?

the logs we store aren’t enough to incriminate users

The last comment here is the most important because in an article on the Idolator, an american intellectual property lawyer suggested that OiNK users “…should be very, very scared.”

“There are at least two reasons why this is not just your average, everyday, run-of-the-mill file sharing copyright infringement: this involves music that has not yet been commercially released, and money changed hands, ” the lawyer said.

An article in the Telegraph today does hint that the Cleveland Police may be taking a look at the user logs, but between the comments made by Ellis and the prospects of them actually trying to coordinate the arrest of 180,000 users worldwide, I think former users will be able to sleep well at night.

From the Telegraph:

Detectives are thought to be analyzing the databases for details of the invitation system and members’ downloads.
A spokesman for Cleveland Police, responsible the Middlesbrough inquiries, said: “It is too early to tell if we will go after individuals, it all depends on what we find.”

In the same article Ellis does make some interesting points in his defense, arguing that OiNK is similar to sites like Google and actually encourages users to buy CDs by discovering new music they otherwise never would have.

“I haven’t done anything wrong. I don’t believe my website breaks the law,” he said. “They don’t understand how it works.”

“The website is very different from how the police are making it out to be. There is no music sold on the site – I am doing nothing wrong.

“When I set up the site I didn’t think I was doing anything illegal and I still don’t. There are 180,000 users and there has been an outcry about what has happened to me.

“People who download music also buy CDs as well. A lot of people download music on the internet to get a taste of it and then later buy the CD.

“But I don’t sell music to people, I just direct them to it. If somebody wants to illegally download music they are going to do it whether my site is there or not.

“If this goes to court it is going to set a huge precedent. It will change the internet as we know it.

“As far as I am aware no-one in Britain has ever been taken to court for running a website like mine. My site is no different to something like Google.

“If Google directed someone to a site they can illegally download music they are doing the same as what I have been accused of. I am not making any Oink users break the law. People don’t pay to use the site.”

It’ll be curious to see how his case fares in court since he didn’t actually host any content. In the meantime I guess users can breathe a sigh of relief.

Jared Moya

I've been interested in P2P since the early, high-flying days of Napster and KaZaA. I believe that analog copyright laws are ill-suited to the digital age, and that art and culture shouldn't be subject to the whims of international entertainment industry conglomerates.


Wait why would this possibly set a very bad precedent? How is this different from the Elite Torrents bust for example?


I imagine they are looking to find the users who posted pre releases. The rest are cannon fodder. If you posted pre's you should be thinking about hiding with OBL in a cave somewhere. The rest should be safe to some degree but this is one to watch as I expect it to get ugly despite what oink says. Like he is really gonna say "oh yeah youre all fucked!"


It's amazing reading this how uneducated the people are who enforce these laws when it comes to technology. I think this is the real hurdle here trying to get these old idiots in power to understand this stuff. Reading up more on this I can't believe how stupid they really are. I figured at first it's all in jest.


If this holds up it's a VERY DANGEROUS precedent. I've said it before if we want the benefits of the Internet we need to put up with some of what some people might consider the bad. Leading people to information should not be a crime. What people do with that information is totally their responsibility. It's true that law enforcement is sorely lacking in their understanding of the technology. So are judges and juries. Some lawyers though are pretty slick. The point is that to be effective the Internet needs to be totally free. I know that sounds like anarchy and it is. But it's virtual anarchy not real anarchy. That is the distinction. What we are talking about here are images sounds and words. We are not talking about physical things. To regulate the free flow of these non-material things is a violation of free speech. Sorry but that's the way I feel about it. Everybody thinks that they have a good reason for stopping some kind of flow on the Internet whether it be the despicable kiddie porn or a copy righted song or a "dangerous" idea. That's the way free speech works: if you want what you consider the good you have to accept the existence of what others might consider good too even if you see it as horribly bad. It's all or nothing. The Internet's main appeal has been that it is free. If this latest case is held up in court the free flow of information is in serious trouble and so are we if we wish to remain a free people.


Agreement was forming in my head for you Burd but then you had to go and ruin it by mentioning kiddie and I hate to burst bubble number 2 but free speech is an illusion that the powers that be pretend we have but then take away by using words like racism sexism derogatory verbal assault and my personal favorite wrong. Effectively the world has what I like to call 'free speech for everyone but you' I would consider it derogatory for someone to call me a racist or a sexist however it's whoever plays the crying deer first in this game who ever cries first to the cops whoever cries first to the lawyers it's enough to make you sick. The internet since the majority of it's inception is the closest thing the world has ever gotten to free speech free transmission of ideas and many of the powers that be are afraid of that one of my favorite quotes can fit quite nicely here: 'Beware those that would withhold information from you as they believe themselves your master.' Currently the powers that be are trying to cull the internet after all this free reign that we have had for this long it's got them scared scared that they'll loose their grip on those that they play master over that goes for just about any big time corporation and government body. So they invent ways to cull us claiming that the IPs trace right back to you claiming they can see what you do where you go how you act big brother is watching he has many names but he is watching trying to discern your next move and if he doesn't like it he's going to try to thumb you out of existence. The way things are going we're going to wind up with two internets the undernet and the uppernet or something to that effect actually we have them already anonymous client systems like i2p and the like are technically an undernet so all it needs is a few more good pushes to scare everyone into these undernets that all they do is facilitate anonymity hell if someone could set up an undernet system that can actually transmit to you at dsl or greater speeds that would be great. however that's something else to consider for the future for now we just watch as they act like rodeo clowns trying to chase down fetters and fragments on the net...