PIG ROAST: 180,000 OINK users commence holding their collective breath

October 23, 2007

BURN THE PIG!!! AHHH!

British and Dutch police have shut down a “widely-used” source of illegally-downloaded music.

A flat on Teesside and several properties in Amsterdam were raided as part of an Interpol investigation into the members-only website OiNK.

The UK-run site has leaked 60 major pre-release albums this year alone, said the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).

A 24-year-old man from Middlesbrough was arrested on Tuesday morning.

‘Extremely lucrative’

The IT worker was led from his home in the town’s Grange Road and is being questioned on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and infringement of copyright law.

Within a few hours of a popular pre-release track being posted on the OiNK site, hundreds of copies can be found
IFPI spokesman

At the same time his employer – a large multi-national company – and his father’s home were also raided.

A Cleveland Police spokesman said: “This extremely lucrative and creative scheme consisted of a private file-sharing website being set up. Membership was by invitation only.

“The site allowed the uploading and downloading of pre-release music and media to thousands of members.

“Members paid ‘donations’ via debit or credit cards, ensuring their continued access to the site.”

Users were only invited to join the site if they could prove that they had music to offer, according to an IFPI spokesman.

So, you can only get onto OINK if you have files to share. That simple fact alone implicates every single person who used the program, which from what I’ve heard is 180,000. There is a comprehensive upload log of everyone that used the service.

Does this mean you can all expect a $220,000 lawsuit? Probably not. I don’t think the RIAA has the balls or the resources to go after every OInK user, but they most assuredly have the desire. Still, given the fact that the RIAA has been suing in the amount of $3K per song shared, and most OiNK users uploaded gigs upon gigs of music to keep their ratio going (or whatever they were doing, I never used it), I wouldn’t be too comfortable today if I had been a faithful user.

Chances are, someone is going to get sued (if you want to figure out if it could be you, check out this chart here). Probably the largest offenders, if any. Obviously OiNK’s founders and facilitators are done for, but beyond that, I’d have to say you’re probably safe — by making a massive example of those who set this up, you could discourage any future Shawn Fannings. But if I’m the record industry and I really want to stop this, I go after broke college kids and everyday users. We’d all be a bit more freaked out if one of “us” participating in this seemingly innocuous yet illegal endeavor got burned, rather than the ringleader of the whole outfit who obviously is on thin ice every day.

Allow me to reiterate: as someone who follows this, it’s more and more likely that more of this stuff will happen. For God’s sake, if you do file share, do not use ANYTHING that requires you to upload ANYTHING. EVER. EVER. EVER.

For handy reading, see http://digitalmusic.weblogsinc.com/2006/08/07/the-riaa-vs-john-doe-a-laypersons-guide-to-filesharing-lawsui/.

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