Allan Ellis, founder of the illegal file sharing site Oink, was found unanimously not guily of conspiracy to defraud by a jury at Teesside Crown Court.
Oink was closed down by Interpol in October 2007 but had enabled 21 million illegal downloads to an estimated value of £20 million.
The interesting point is that he argued that he was not aware of the illegal content but was just providing a "network". No doubt this will lead to a collective sigh of relief from the ISP's who turn a blind eye to illegal activity themselves. He also argued that the £200,000 in his bank account deriving from this activity were not profit....
This is in contrast to the decision in the recent Pirate Bay case and really underlines the need for rights owners to actively protect their rights. Had Mr. Ellis been forced to recognise that illegal activity was taking place his defence that "I did not know it was happening, guv'nor" would have failed.
By going after a marginal case however the position of rights owners in the UK has suffered a setback but this highlights the need for active policing of rights so that prosecutions can be brought based on actual knowledge of these network operators who claim, like Manuel is Fawlty Towers "I know nothing..........."