back to article UK cops arrest six alleged BitTorrent music uploaders

Cleveland police have today confirmed that six people have been arrested for allegedly sharing music files via the defunct BitTorrent tracker Five men aged between 19 and 33, and a 28-year-old woman were detained "in relation to uploading pre-release music", the force said in a statement. Three of the arrests were …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > "force suspects to disclose encryption keys."

    So, what happens if they've not actually got an account, and thus no encryption keys?

    Are they guilty by virtue of not being able to answer the question?

    Seems a touch harsh.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Conspiracy to Defraud ?

    Fraud implies deception in criminal law no? I don't see where the deception lies here.

  3. Paul Talbot

    I wonder...

    ...if music industry people will ever get the idea of certain things. For example:

    "It focused on high quality files and featured trackers for pre-release material, "

    Maybe they should not enforce release dates on albums (which exist because of the vagaries of physical releases, which don't affect digital), and maybe encourage retailers to deal in FLAC/320Kbps, non-DRMed files.

    OiNK was set up to satisfy a hole in the existing market. If the industry would satisfy the demand themselves, thereby removing the market for these sites, many of them would not exist. At least, those that did exist would not be held in higher regard than the industry itself, as OiNK was.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    I want to move to Cleveland

    If the local police have anything more serious, and of greater concern to the local populace of Cleveland than file sharers and running a 7 month enquiry the raid with 6 plods, well then it must be a great place to live. Safe to walk in the park at night and no troubles outside the pubs at closing time.

    If there is still problems like that then why are these wankers wasting PUBLIC money on this for?

    How about an inquiry into how the Cleveland police set their resource priorities.

  5. David Lavery


    They have to be able to prove that you have one, if they cannot prove that you have an account they cannot prove the criminal case against you that the sentence would require.

    However for you to be arrested they must have fairly solid grounds....

  6. kevin king

    fraud yes!

    "Fraud implies deception, No?"

    No precise legal definition of fraud exists; many of the offences referred to as fraud are covered by the Theft Acts of 1968 and 1978. Generally, the term is used to describe such acts as deception, bribery, forgery, extortion, corruption, theft, conspiracy, embezzlement, misappropriation, false representation, concealment of material facts and collusion. For practical purposes fraud may be defined as the use of deception with the intention of obtaining an advantage, avoiding an obligation or causing loss to another party.

  7. Mike Hunt

    Spare a thought....

    >>>> "If there is still problems like that then why are these wankers wasting PUBLIC money on this for?

    How about an inquiry into how the Cleveland police set their resource priorities."

    This is because somebody has reported the offence and the police are "duty bound" to investigate / take action or they will suffer the wrath of the IPCC. Normally stuff like this isnt amongst the "league tables" (sorry, key performance indicators) so wouldnt get a second look at, but unfortunately the music industry employs lawyers etc who target their letters / complaints to the upper echelons of the force, and as we all know sh*t only runs downhill !!

  8. Jamie

    Protect the people

    The police are not there to protect the people but to protect the multi-national conglomerates which is where the politicians get jobs when they leave office. Does anyone else see any issue with this type of setup in government.

  9. Luke Barton

    Re:> "force suspects to disclose encryption keys."

    If they can prove they had an account but refuse to cough up the password, yes.

    If it is unclear whether you had an account, then I think you're fine.

    I wouldn't cough it up. I would just cite my right not to incriminate myself. I'd leave it up to them to prove that I owned and used the account to break the law - then leave it up to court to decide whether their logs of internet traffic actually tell them who was sat in front of the computer at the time.

    I honestly do not know a single person that would BUY music because it is illegal to download it. People BUY music because they want to pay money for it or have the original cd / box. Saying that, I buy music from iTunes because it is CONVENIENT. I think the recording industry should follow that business model up. The internet has taken the impetus away from the corporations and put it into the hands of majority public - which is where it should be. The public is basically telling the record company what their music is worth and they don't like it.

    If cars ran on water, you wouldn't take it to the garage and pay £1.35 a litre, you'd fill it up from your sink, illegal or not.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC - If the local police have anything more serious....

    Yes, because the police can only do one crime at once, someone was murdered in Glasgow the other week that means we should be free to commit any crime we wish there until they've caught the murderer.

    You're quite right, the police should only ever look at the most serious crime in their area. Duh.

    @Kevin King

    I think you're after the Fraud Act 2006:-


    Fraud by false representation

    (1) A person is in breach of this section if he—

    (a) dishonestly makes a false representation, and

    (b) intends, by making the representation—

    (i) to make a gain for himself or another, or

    (ii) to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.

    You'll note that the gain doesn't have to be his own and the loss only a "risk of loss". The gain or loss have to be money or property though.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Police State

    This is absolutely ridiculous and a complete waste of public money in one of the most crime infested areas of the UK. This smacks of political (content mafia ?) pressure.

    I wonder if any of the police involved may have a nice job with one of the " Big Four "

    after the investigation a la Sweden and the Pirate Bay ?

    If they want to go after anyone for fraud it should be the Content Mafia for screwing Joe Public for years

  12. alistair millington Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    they won't get jail time... they are full

    Oh wait, 500 convicted criminals are being released... and this will be a high profile case because the record industry are paying for it to be. So jail time will be pushed for.

    Still music of that quality sounds better than half the crap I buy on CD. Wish I had heard of it earlier.

  13. Steve

    @ David Lavery

    "However for you to be arrested they must have fairly solid grounds...."

    That depends on what kind of mood they are in.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Time to Move

    <QUOTE>If there is still problems like that then why are these wankers wasting PUBLIC money on this for?</QUOTE>

    I see the problem here. You think that the law exists to protect the public. It doesn't. It should, but ultimately it exists to protect those who can afford to pay for it. So the BPI is rich, and therefore can pay for a little law and the filesharers ( who may be in the right or maybe in the wrong, I'm sitting on the fence), who can't afford a flashy car or decent legal protection, get to be shat on from a great height. And since the executives who pay for all this lovely law have bodyguards and bulletproof cars, why waste money on patrolling pubs or streets.

    There is a way out. Vote for a centrist government, or even (fingers down throat, because I can't believe I'm going to say this) a left leaning government. The Tories are so right wing that they'll make the problem worse. The Labour party is right wing too, now, I'm afraid. That only leaves the Liberals.

    hmm. Maybe now is the right time to move to New Zealand.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    in other news...

    there's a Cleveland in the UK?

  16. grom

    Civil or Criminal?

    Why are the police involved so heavily with what should surely be a civil case and not a criminal case?

    If I wore a tin hat I'd say they were either just trying to scare people or were using the database to compare with their lists of people that they're interested in for 'other reasons' .

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I kinda have to like the artist to appreciate the music

    And can people really respect an artist if they are just lifting their works?

    Yes, the handling of this is far too draconian, and will probably cause more problems than it solves.

    But, why if people don't want to buy music, do they setup sites to pirate the music, why not just make music?

    Rosegarden is a great opensource midi sequencer and music composition tool, get cracking there and offer the fruits of your labour for nothing to the rest of the world if you so desire.

    And artists need to a grow a pair, and hire tech people directly to build up a band's image and distribution channels. It really is not that hard, they just need to ask people to build them a system so they can sell their music directly to the consumer. If the sales price is reasonable they will do well, people want to buy off bands directly. This is the whole ludicrous thing about all of this, people want to support the bands they like, the bands have to let them, and let the fans put the shame on those who try to get this work without paying gratuity.

  18. Mark Allen

    @in other news...

    <Q>there's a Cleveland in the UK?</Q>

    I guess you're from the US? Spend time with a map of the US and UK and you will spot MANY of the town names are the same. If the name wasn't nicked from the UK, then it probally came from Europe somewhere.

    When us Europeans were busy colonising your country way back in the past... there wasn't exactly much originality in the town names. :) I guessed it reminded us of home.... well, why else call it "New York"?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    So they have to investigate the crime as the BPI said some crimes had been commited.

    What about the 1000's who were snooped on by BT in 2006/2007 during the phorm / webwise trials.

    Individuals have gone to the police to reoprt this crime and they are nottaking any action against BT.

  20. Geoff Mackenzie

    Re: there's a Cleveland in the UK?

    That's nothing. There's a Moscow.

  21. JimC Silver badge


    1) Fraud and theft (how else do they get pre release material) are criminal activities.

    2) People involved in one type of crime are often involved in other types. The cops don't much care what they get the crooks for as long as they do.

  22. Brock Linahan


    Is this where Anne of Cleves was from?

    I wonder if the people who've been arrested have been informed of what they've been charged with yet?

  23. pAnoNymous
    Paris Hilton

    the police only care about high profile crime

    When a little old lady gets her pension stolen inside her local bank all she gets is a reference number (I know this from experience). I would dare to she was affected far more than any one individual in this case, but there you go...

  24. Uncle Peter

    Force suspects to disclose encryption keys

    I was under the impression that, "force suspects to disclose encryption keys." only applied if you were suspected of terrorist activities?

  25. Aaron

    I wonder

    I Wonder if I downloaded of and I then bought the CD's when they came out would it be illegal. Sure I would have downloaded something but only because it was available and I intended to buy the CD anyway.

    The problem I see is people what their music ASAP by what ever means possible, if its out in one country and not another then people will download it, people want top quality of audio. If the music biz did global releases (at the same time) and allowed customers to have this quality of music how many of those lost sales would they get back.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    @ kevin king

    In other words, the CV of every US politician everywhere (and especially in Illinois)....

  27. George Johnson
    Thumb Up

    Good to see!

    Dear old plod's time and resources being bought and abused by the corporate powers that now seem to own the UK justice system, just like our friends in our "special international relationship". Welcome to the 51st state!

  28. Anonymous Coward


    Is this the same RIPA that the Met are refusing to investigate PHORM under because there's no proof only accusations, bit like & the Music Industry then.

  29. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    Wiped the evidence?

    "A coordinated move by Dutch police also seized the invitation-only website's servers, which were later returned wiped."

  30. horsesintransit

    Hang on...

    Well, it might seem harsh and a waste of public money to some people, but does not the record industry have the right to release music when it sees fit, so if someone "obtains" and distributes the unreleased music for free, have they not got a case to answer as it would arguably reduce the value of the unreleased music to the record companies AND artists as when the music is released, less people actually buy it because they already have it from downloading causing loss of revenue to both artist and record label. Surely it is a case of theft so the record companies have a case?

    Flame as no doubt people will flame me for daring to support the record industry... or perhaps I should have chosen Steve Jobs for "think different"

  31. Syren Baran
    Paris Hilton

    RE: > "force suspects to disclose encryption keys."

    I'm puzzled nobody came up with the obvious question yet.

    What happens if you forget the keyphrase? I dont think i'm the only one who has already forgotten passwords for seldom used accounts and had to have them reset.

    What then, do they start with brain surgery then? Inject drugs? Send you to Guantanamo?

    Paris Hilton, because she is an obvious example for a person who would never forget a pass phrase.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Fraud ?

    @JonB,others - "(a) dishonestly makes a false representation, and " - I still don't see where the false representation lies.

    Someone seeds an unreleased album they got off their mate. They're not claiming to be EMI/The Artist /Their agent etc - where's the deceit?

    @Uncle Peter - I thought so too - but I think we all know how it goes from here on in.

  33. Anthony Hulse

    File sharers?

    So, the RIP Act gets used for this now does it? Another great example of exactly why we shouldn't allow our idiot politicians to give the authorities ever more powers, because just like the Walter Wolfgang incident in 2005 proved the establishment will simply use those powers to keep us from protesting against them.

    Police State anyone?

    Tux, because pretty soon the only decent place to live will be with penguins at the South Pole.

  34. peter

    RE: no account

    RIPA trials are closed court, the penalty for talking about the case is I think 5-10 years in jail. So we wouldn't hear about it , if someone was charged for failing to provide account details, which they didn't have.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have music sales improved since OiNK was shut down?

    "The BPI and IFPI worked with the police in order to close down the OiNK tracker site last October. The illegal online distribution of music, particularly pre-release, is hugely damaging, and as OiNK was the biggest source for pre-releases at the time we moved to shut it down".

    If OiNK was "hugely damaging", then closing it down must have had a measurable (positive) impact on industry numbers, right?

    Anyone want to bet that there is absolutely no evidence of any improvement in the "Music Industries" health since OiNK was shut down? Because OiNK wasn't causing any damage in the first place.

  36. BatCat
    Thumb Up

    There's also a

    Hollywood and lots of Californias...

  37. Dex

    RE: "force suspects to disclose encryption keys."

    7 words for you: "You have the right to remain silent"

    Bite me Plod

  38. Andrew Norton

    few points

    First, it wasn't the Dutch police, it was an arm of the Dutch tax agency.

    Second, i think that ,were it really a deep investigation into the pre-release music, they'd find it came from the very people they claim this is hurting - some of the 'thuosands of workers'. Perhaps they weren't happy about the industry activites either.

    3) I have had dealings with the BPI myself, many years ago. even in the late 90s, they were avid practitioners of auto-cranial-proctology.

    4) the website was removed from the BPI's control only after myself, and a few others sent strongly worded letters to the Cleveland Chief Constable that such actions were a clear disregard for presumption of innocence. The day after we sent them (and after Torrentfreak wrote about it) control was returned.

    Things like this are why Alex hanff's Phorm protest are important to get behind. It is, however, time we british stood up, and showed the fighting spirit that was in evidence in the early 40's, rathre than mimic the moaning and gossiping creations Les Dawson and Julie Walters - that complain bitterly about everything, ut never do anything about it.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Re: Cleveland

    @Brock Linahan

    No, Anne of Cleves was from another area cloven by geographic feature; specifically the Duchy of Cleves, which straddles the Dutch-German border in North Rhine-Westphalia. Being American, you probably have relatives from there, but you'd rather have relatives from Scotland and wear somebody else's tartan ("plaid" in America).

    See, European geographic names were usually given for their features; whereas in America, we generally just pull them out of our collective bum ("donkey" in America). Hence "Cleve"land Ohoho isn't cloven.

    But back to the flippin' topic, eh? Too much time on their hands. The plods and the twoccers.

  40. Aubry Thonon

    Re:> "force suspects to disclose encryption keys."

    @Luke Barton: "I wouldn't cough it up. I would just cite my right not to incriminate myself."

    <ironic laughter> I do hope you live in the US, not the UK. Then again, you quoted a price in GBP. Here's a tip - remember that the 'right' you are quoting is "the fifth amendment to the American constitution". In other word, it doesn't apply to UK law.

    At least it's better than French-law, where the simple fact you're in front of the court means you're guilty and must now prove your innocence. After all, the Police wouldn't have arrested you unless you *were* guilty, right?

  41. John O'Hare
    Black Helicopters

    Mediadefender setup?

    Just wondering if these 'pre-release' torrents weren't planted by Mediadefender, who have actually admitted to actively do this sort of thing to 'illegal' trackers.

  42. Studebaker Hawk

    Supporting Bands...

    I will continue to support the acts that I like in the ways that see the most money going to them: merchandise and live performances.

  43. Anonymous Coward

    > "force suspects to disclose encryption keys."

    I've always wondered about this scenario:

    "Yes, I had an account. No I don't have the password any more. It was 32 random characters that I had written down, but I've lost it since."

    How exactly are you supposed to disclose something you don't know?

  44. Anonymous Coward

    @Aubry Thonon

    "I do hope you live in the US, not the UK. Then again, you quoted a price in GBP. Here's a tip - remember that the 'right' you are quoting is "the fifth amendment to the American constitution". In other word, it doesn't apply to UK law."

    Are you really naive enough to think that the USA has a monopoly on the right not to incriminate yourself? Anyone would think that you're trying to suggest some kind of moral superiority here. I have news for you - the rest of the world is less than convinced, and they're getting pretty tired of the USA attempting to enforce its laws on or in other sovereign countries.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Aubry Thornton - Right to Silence

    Regarding defendants in criminal trials, the right to silence was codified in the Judges' Rules in 1912 in England and Wales.

    There is also no general duty to assist police with their inquiries.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: the police only care about high profile crime

    Could that be because the avrage little old lady that complains about people not being caught gives a discription of "it was two men...i think"?

    I have been in the same position. Two people tryed to mug me. I was able to give full description of the two, the car they were driving and which way they went. They were caught within an hour.

    I have heard and seen this befor. People complaining about the police not doing anything when they dont tell the Police anything.

    A friend of mine workes on the desk at a Police station and often recives complaints that the Police are not doing anything when all they have had is "two men stole my money, around this time at this place. I don't remeber what they look like. Why dont you arrest them?".

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Wan't the decision to invoke the right of silence changed to "assume guilt" in law by Blanket and Nu Lab sometime this century. Around the time when many IT activities were criminalised as opposed to civilised, just so that the police could be involved. As demonstrated in the BT Phorm fiasco, not by the likes of you and me but by the likes of BSA and the Music Industry. Bliars front door always seemed open to his new showbiz pals which may have had something to do with it at the time.

  48. michael


    is the law on passwords in conflite with the law givving us right ot remain silent?

  49. Mark SPLINTER

    My heart bleeds

    The music in question does not belong to the people who wrote it and recorded it.

  50. Anonymous Coward

    Re: (Various)

    "I was under the impression that, "force suspects to disclose encryption keys." only applied if you were suspected of terrorist activities?"

    Nope, any crime. It was written in 1999-2000 (ie pre-WTC attacks) so terrorism wasn't used as the excuse to remove our rights. It's now basically comes down to that if the police find something they can't read and they have reason to believe you can decrypt/decode it but are refusing to, you go to jail for two years. Guilty until you prove yourself innocent.

    "I wonder if the people who've been arrested have been informed of what they've been charged with yet?"

    No need. They'll be in Guantanamo, because piracy funds terrorism ya know :s


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