Because i reported on my website (in Dutch) about the trial of Adi and the crew of R4U against the Dutch state. I presumed to take it from there and translate it to English so you guys can follow the case from that day on. I will be updating, writing new articles about the ongoing trial, and every now and then write about new developments in my own case, updates, news and tutorials in ED2K and P2P technology. Well lets go and spread the word and start the journey to the unknown.
Wednesday July 19 2007:
Unfortunately I am a little late writing this report because i had to work and did a major rebuild of my website and forums which slowed down my activities. Nevertheless the time-span, here’s my report on the matter. It gives inside information which i wrote down live during the trial from June 9 and 10 2007. This info was not found in the press bulletins, but to make things clear to all P2P users i decided to write my own report.
Day 1, Monday July 9 2007
I was present on the first day of the 2nd trial in the Rotterdam Court. The crew of ShareConnector and Realeases4U had to stand trial for spreading copyright protected content, copyright infringement and membership of a criminal organization which in the Netherlands is a crime that can get you a fine of € 47.000 and 4 years in prison. Because BREIN had done the research and FIOD-ECD (the tax fraud and computer crime police) had used this information in the first trial without doing what the police is supposed to do, doing there own investigation and not just copy the reports BREIN delivered for the first trial. The first trial (in 2005) was declared invalid, and was postponed until today.
The DOJ prosecutor Mrs. A. Drogt stated the charge against the crew members of ShareConnector and Releases4U whom got arrested in 2004 for violating articles 31a and 31b of the Dutch copyright law that forbids the spreading of copyright protected works and Intellectual property.
And participating in a criminal organization because according to prosecutor Mrs. Drogt the websites where organized as in a business, making money with criminal activities.
Meaning the donations made by members, and income from commercial banners on the websites, which did not even cover all expenses made by the site owners. But sins this was the first criminal trial in the Netherlands about file sharing sites being acused of criminal organizations, it was of great importance to future file sharing sites, and the prosecutor was insistent to hang the defendants as high as possible.
Present where; On behalf of Releases4U:
Xarenion (Root Administrator and site owner)
Mufasa (Financial brain behind R4U)
On behalf of ShareConnector:
Adi (Root Admin and site owner)
The hosting provider (Mindlab) a small one mans business who was hosting both sites at that time, and had an Administrator account on Releases4U.
And there lawyers (four in total).
There names, addresses and date of birth where spoken out loud by judge Mr. Van Klaveren and where confirmed by the defendants but for privacy reasons i will not repeat them here.
Among others like me, some relatives and the press, Mr. Tim Kuik CEO of anti-piracy foundation BREIN accompanied by FIOD-ECD investigator Mr. J.J. De Campos Neto (they will undoubtedly have there current names and addresses, and if they didn’t this was there opportunity to write them down now for future use if needed), where also present in the courtroom.
BREIN had handed over a 4 inch thick file to FIOD-ECD containing investigation reports about ShareConnector and Releases4U that they wrote themselves. Yes it seems BREIN still thinks they are police investigators to, although BREIN is a private agency who have no detection competence what so ever. FIOD-ECD however greedily used the files doing there own independent investigation this time (ya right). But as i said, this was the second change to get ShareConnector and Releases4U convicted for the crimes they where accused of.
In the courtroom there was a laptop with a fast Internet connection an mega screen that was projected on with a beamer so everyone could see the demonstrations to come. Also an expert whiteness Mr. R.A. Bhoedjang from the Dutch forensics institute (NFI) was present to answer some questions about the technical aspects of the case. A nice man who claimed to be an expert computer scientist, but in my opinion he was a disaster representing the Dutch Forensics Institute. It looked like he knew more from comic strips than he knew about computers, file sharing and P2P.
Hey said he was given to little time to read the files, and what he read was incomplete, there where parts of the file missing. A few simple questions could not be answered and many times he ended up getting stuck in the files he was supposed to have read. On the question from the lawyer of R4U (Mr. Manicus) if anyone of the forensic institute was certified to investigate the confiscated computers so no harm would be done to the data on the hard-disks. The answer was NO, next question was if the data was copied on a 1:1 basis to an other drive to do the investigation on the 1:1 backup to not compromise the data on the original drive. Again the answer was NO, what else the man was doing in the courtroom was a complete riddle. So far the expert whiteness, he was asked to leave the bench and that was it. I was sad and shocked to see this man was the “so called” expert on which the judge had to trust, in coming to his verdict.
The first defendant who got the word (the no. one Adi lol) started with an presentation on the big screen to show what was all the fuss about. He explained the principles of eMule and how it works. He showed to the judge that ShareConnector was not really hosting anything on its servers but hashcodes that could only be used as links when a member had the special software installed called eMule or eDonkey. Only then files could be exchanged between clients themselves, without the need for any website. In fact eMule does not even need any website hosting hascodes to content because of the kademlia network that makes it possible to find a download without interference of a website like ShareConnector or Releases4U.
As downloading in the Netherlands is permitted by law even if the content is illegally found on the Internet (explain an other time why that is), but uploading is not. The judge asked if it was possible to set sharing software like eMule to not upload at the same time as downloading. Adi answered NO it is not, but with a third party program like net-limiter it was possible to completely stop uploading while downloading was just going on fine. But Adi said, it was not the website that did the uploading but the members from allover the world, and ShareConnector was nothing but a friendly community to chit, chat about the one common hobby, file sharing. And the site was just indexing hashcodes that anyone can find everywhere, yes even on google. Only disadvantage on Google is that you need to know exactly how to put in your search strings, but if done the right way hundreds of clickable hashcodes where the result.
An other way to stop uploading Adi explained was to set a high priority to a legal file while downloading a copyright protected file. This way eMule is uploading a completely legal file (freeware, shareware, home video and such) which is no violation of copyright according to the Dutch law. Besides (and this is important) Adi said, uploading illegal content is the responsibility of the member that is running the client (eMule, eDonkey) and let it upload copyright protected content. It is not my job to check if any member is violating the laws of his Country. ShareConnector is nothing but a group of hobbyists that are leaving directions (in the form of hashcodes) so other clients know where on the p2p network to go to and start file sharing. Its just an easy way to get what you’re looking for. It could just as easily be done with Google if you know how to look.
I was getting the impression it was all a bit to much for the judge who in all his wisdom was born in the late thirties or so, and had missed the digital revolution. But he showed that he understood everything Adi was trying to say, every time Adi asked it the judge understood what he meant, the judge confirmed. As i said, a wise man who had done his homework. Which i could not say about the prosecutor Mrs. A. Drogt, she did not wanted to see or understand how eMule and P2P worked and that everyone could use Google to get the hash links just as easy.
To be continued …..