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OiNK BitTorrent admin faces fraud prosecution

Uploaders to be hauled before the beak, too

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Cleveland police have charged Alan Ellis, the former administrator of the defunct BitTorrent tracker site OiNK.cd, with conspiracy to defraud the record industry.

Ellis, a 25-year-old IT worker, will face magistrates at a committal hearing on 24 September, a police spokeswoman said today. Five individuals who were arrested in June for uploading music torrents to OiNK will also appear to answer charges of criminal copyright infringement.

All the alleged offences could carry prison sentences.

The charges follow a lengthy investigation code-named "Operation Ark Royal". Ellis was arrested in October 2007 in a raid on his Middlesbrough home. Coordinated raids by Dutch authorities seized the servers that hosted OiNK.

Police at the time alleged that running the BitTorrent tracker had been "extremely lucrative", making "hundreds of thousands of pounds". Ellis' police bail was extended three times while computer forensics officers gathered evidence.

OiNK was operated on an invitation-only basis, and accepted donations from members. It was prized by members for the high quality encoding of many of the files it tracked, and for its frequent pre-release uploads. ®

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