How Much Did The Pointless OiNK Raid Cost UK Taxpayers?

from the if-they-spend-more-do-they-get-it-right-next-time? dept

As you may recall, a few years back, UK authorities took down OiNK, a popular BitTorrent tracker site -- and only after taking down the site did they realize that OiNK's admin, Alan Ellis, didn't appear to have done anything illegal. After testing out a few legal theories, prosecutors finally tried "conspiracy to defraud" the music industry -- a crime that sounds suspiciously like felony interference of a business model. Of course, years later, Ellis was found not guilty, since he didn't actually break any laws.

So how much did this entertainment-industry driven mess cost UK taxpayers? Well, police refused to release that information for a while, claiming that it "could undermine any ongoing and future investigations and cause potential damage to the criminal justice process." Uh, right. About the only way it would do that is when people realized how much money was being wasted on bogus investigations. Eventually, however, it came out that the investigation itself cost about £29,000 -- including £7,800 on overtime (OiNK after dark?) and £4,300 on "travel and subsistence." Of course that doesn't even get into what the actual trial cost taxpayers, which I'm sure is many times greater than that. And, as plenty of people predicted at the time of the raid, none of it mattered, because others stepped in to replace OiNK in no time flat. Perhaps, next time, the police can spend a little more money to realize that they had no case. Or, maybe, not spend the money at all, and let the entertainment industry focus its efforts on actually adapting to a changing market place.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2010 @ 12:26am

    Considering we invented the Web, the UK is sadly remarkably backward when it comes to IT.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Yogi, Sep 17th, 2010 @ 12:34am

    Wrong again

    Mike, you just don't get it.

    Defending the entertainment industry's business model is like defending liberty - it's worth it no matter what the cost, no matter what we as a nation(s) have to do. It's not only a matter of principal - it's a matter of our very survival as a civilization.
    Yes, we may have to throw privacy, the internet, digital technology, common sense, economic competition, the future and perhaps even personal liberty itself out the window. But how can anyone in his right corporate mind doubt that it is worth it?

    Mike, I think you are due for an appointment with Mr. O'Brien at the Ministry of Free Culture.

     

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  3.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Sep 17th, 2010 @ 12:55am

    Re: Wrong again

    I hope my sarcasm detector is working OK, because I detect some in that post. If you were serious, that might have been the dumbest thing I've ever read on the internet!

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2010 @ 1:12am

    Perspective

    Did Techdirt move to the UK or something?
    For an American perspective...

    £29,000.00 = $45,548.32 on investigation itself
    +£7,800.00 = $12,246.80 on overtime
    +£4,300.00 = $ 6,751.44 on "travel and subsistence"
    ---------------------------------
    £42,100.00 = $64,546.56 in totally, completely wasted tax money

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2010 @ 1:16am

    It's good to know that a review of rape policies in the UK has been scrapped due to funding cuts. But hey, at least they can afford to prosecute innocent people running torrent trackers.

    Just so everyone remembers:

    You're more likely to get away with rape than file sharing!

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Yogi, Sep 17th, 2010 @ 1:18am

    Re: Re: Wrong again

    I guess one of us has to work on his sense of humor. Happily, I don't make a living from satire.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    mike allen (profile), Sep 17th, 2010 @ 1:20am

    nothing will stop filesharing when the entertainment industry get that it will have to adadpt its model. until then even the draconian D.E.A in the UK will resort in many being kicked of the web illegally. sharing is caring.
    Yogi if not saecasum must be dumber than the average bear.

     

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  8.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Sep 17th, 2010 @ 1:26am

    Re: Perspective

    "Did Techdirt move to the UK or something?"

    It always amuses me when people complain about TD having an international perspective. Yes, things of importance or note sometimes happen outside of your sheltered community and they use currencies other than the "almighty" dollar. Deal with it.

     

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  9.  
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    Paddy Duke (profile), Sep 17th, 2010 @ 2:00am

    Re: Re: Perspective

    As well as having our own currencies, we also appear to use a different form of mathematics: one where ‘including’ doesn’t mean ‘in addition to’.

    Just to clarify, over USD $45,000 was spent by the authorities on investigating a case where no crime had been committed.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2010 @ 2:01am

    International laws are wacky!

    For aspiring comedy bloggers, watch this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfHr6vaeBhI

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2010 @ 2:44am

    Maybe about 10 to 20 years they give up.

    Piracy is going nowhere but up(no not the sea kind of piracy).

    I always marvel at how some people think they have a choice in the matter.

     

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  12.  
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    Planespotter (profile), Sep 17th, 2010 @ 3:07am

    "However, the force admits the true total cost is likely to be significantly greater than disclosed because it did not keep records of normal hours spent on the case, or the involvement of other forces."

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/09/15/oink_costs/

    So that 29k /$45k is only additional costs, and the day to day costs (read greater) of the whole investigation aren't included.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Sep 17th, 2010 @ 3:43am

    Re: DEA

    See, that’s another term that means different things on each side of the Atlantic. :)

     

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  14.  
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    isabel (profile), Sep 17th, 2010 @ 4:32am

    Re:

    the really horrible thing about this, is that they tried to screw a man's life up in the process, glorifying in leading him out in handcuffs - they really have no moral values at all, all because of people's natural desire to share music and things that they love.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    bob, Sep 17th, 2010 @ 5:03am

    Cops?

    Perhaps, next time, the police can spend a little more money to realize that they had no case.

    In the UK as here it's not the cops that make the case it's the prosecutors who make the case.

    It wasn't the oink local police precinct detective sargent who suddenly awoke one day and decided to bust oink.

    It was political pressure from the recording industry who cost the tax payers all the expanses for this whack a mole failure.

     

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  16.  
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    abc gum, Sep 17th, 2010 @ 5:30am

    Has Alan Ellis filed the civil suit yet? That could add to the total.

     

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  17.  
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    Jay (profile), Sep 17th, 2010 @ 5:42am

    Suggestion

    A link to the money might do well to help the argument:

    http://www.zeropaid.com/news/90740/oink-raid-cost-uk-taxpayers-45347-usd/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Whisk33, Sep 17th, 2010 @ 5:46am

    Small Cost

    I actually was expecting it to be much much higher... it seems wrong, or just incredibly more efficient than I was expecting...

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Delboy, Sep 17th, 2010 @ 6:17am

    Re: Cops?

    Agreed.
    Since the action failed should us Britons be persuing damages against the entertainment industries.

    29K approx. plus the trial costs.

    I'm sure if it were the other way around they would be seeking damages & costs.

     

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  20.  
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    Overcast (profile), Sep 17th, 2010 @ 7:16am

    Well, perhaps the Music Industry should be investigated for it's 'damage' to the Sheet Music industry?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheet_music

     

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  21.  
    icon
    Sean T Henry (profile), Sep 17th, 2010 @ 7:16am

    Re:

    The war against file sharing is like the war against drugs no matter how long you fight it people are still going to use pot.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2010 @ 7:26am

    Re: Re:

    With only one small difference: drugs can be bad for your health. File sharing can't.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2010 @ 9:47am

    So What ?

    in the grand scheme of things, this is almost nothing in terms of monetary investment. the title makes it seem like millions were spent. Hate to be a devil's advocate here, but its hardly worthy of a story

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2010 @ 10:58am

    Re: So What ?

    I take it you don't have to pay taxes? If you do, would it be ok with you if, in these times of economic uncertainty, your police was wasting money for no useful purpose at all? I guess it's ok as long as it isn't "millions".

    And besides, do you know for how long I have to work to raise 29000£? That's A LOT of money.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2010 @ 2:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Perspective

    including" doesn't mean "in addition to"

    True enough. You got me there. I did in fact catch my error, but without there being a way to edit or delete my comment there was little I could do about it.

     

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  26.  
    icon
    mike allen (profile), Sep 18th, 2010 @ 8:58am

    Re:

    he could sue for false arrest.The court would have to award damages based on how much gewould lose in his life time from the lose of his business.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2010 @ 1:07pm

    Re: Re: Cops?

    Recently a UK filmmaker, Ray Gosling "admitted" to a mercy killing on TV. The police spent £45000 investigating this - and concluded he had made it all up. He was then prosecuted for wasting police time. Seems to me like someone in this case should be facing a similar prosecution.

     

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  28.  
    icon
    The Mad Hatter (profile), Sep 18th, 2010 @ 6:44pm

    Oink and the Cops

    I spent some time trying to get information out of the cops about this case. They seemed to be terrified of answering any questions on the phone, in fact I could hear two of the talking when one put the phone down, and they sounded so scared it was ridiculous. They also refused to supply me the information I wanted, and tried to pretend that some of it didn't exist.

    Oh, and they tried to refer me to the IFPI, and when I pointed out that the IFPI shouldn't know what was in the arrest warrant, they seemed to get more nervous.

    I don't think that the cops were at all happy with the IFPI, in fact I got the impression that the cops believe that the IFPI was lying to them. Curious, that.

    If you want to read what I wrote at the time I made the call click here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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