Oink: We're no Different From Google

By Richard Menta 10/26/07

Released on bail after his arrest in Britain this week, Oink founder Alan Ellis said he did nothing wrong. According to Ellis, Oink, the members-only BitTorrent site he administered, was nothing more than a collection of links and thus no different from any search engine like Google.

“I haven’t done anything wrong. I don’t believe my website breaks the law. They don’t understand how it works", Ellis told UK paper The Daily Telegraph. "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".

Ellis is not wrong about his site being no different from Google, though under US law Google has far more un-infringing uses than a BitTorrent site. Still, Google offers access to a teasure trove of MP3 files and sites like http://www.jimmyr.com/ have created front ends that make it easier to tap into Google's advanced search features to find a specific music track.

But Google has the financial resources to battle against such lawsuits and so the record industry has yet to challenge it. Oink is a relatively small player in this regard. It is doubtful that Ellis will be able to mount a sustained defense of Oink, let alone one that can afford the crack legal team needed to set any form of favorable precedent.

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