The first every person in Britain to be prosecuted for illegal online music sharing has now been absolved of all charges which accused him of conspiracy to defraud, hurting the hopes pegged by the music industry that it would have a local effect of last year's Pirate Bay case in Sweden, and would discourage British music pirates.
26 year old Alan Ellis was accused of bagging over a thousand pounds from Oink, a music sharing website, which he operated from his Middlesbrough flat. Before the site was shut down in 2007 as a result of a police raid, the portal had over 200,000 members, who had downloaded about 21 million music files.
Last night, the music industry bitterly slammed the verdict at Teesside Crown Court as "completely out of line with successful prosecutions in other jurisdictions".
"This is a hugely disappointing verdict. The defendant made nearly ?200,000 by exploiting other people's work without permission. The case shows that artists and music companies need better protection", said a spokesman for music industry body the BPI.
Ellis, during the trial, had informed the authorities that he had set up Oink in order to improve upon his computing skills while he was a student at Teesside University.