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ShareConnector Trial Begins Friday
June 21, 2006
Thomas Mennecke
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Before the madness that has become BitTorrent absorbed the Internet, there was eDonkey2000. Still a powerful P2P network, its dominance has waned somewhat in favor of more progressive technologies. Yet during its height, indexing servers of substantial size ruled this network.

One of particular importance was ShareReactor, which was administered and owned by “Simon Moon.” The “SuprNova” of its day, ShareReactor provided a one stop market for virtually any type of media at the time. As an eDonkey2000 indexing site, ShareReactor provided hash links to files that existed on the network, yet did not actually host any copyrighted material. This mattered little to Swiss authorities, as in March of 2004 Simon Moon became cannon fodder for the entertainment industry’s global public relations and copyright enforcement campaign.

Although the loss of ShareReactor was a significant deduction in the indexing of available files, its role was soon supplanted by a new indexing site, ShareConnector. The enforcement action against ShareReactor eliminated one of the largest eDonkey2000 indexing sites, but it did not eliminate the demand for information. Within weeks, droves of ShareReactor refugees had filled the ShareConnector ranks.

ShareConnector, based in the Netherlands, would only enjoy a short lived glory. By December 2004, ShareConnector would join the long list of similar eDonkey2000 and BitTorrent indexing sites that were forced offline.

“Our patience was up, after which we went to the authorities,” says Tim Kuik, director of BREIN. According to Mr. Kuik this is the first in a series of moves against "services that play an essential role in the exchange of illegal files."

While news surrounding this issue has been quiet, events are once again gearing up in the Netherlands. Last month, the administrator and owner of ShareConnector finally received a summons to appear in a Rotterdam court this Friday. The charges brought against him are “professionally (complicity) copyright violation and participation in a criminal organization.”

Criminal charges are rare in file-sharing/P2P related cases, as civil charges are more typically used for mainstream enforcement purposes. However indexing servers/hubs/websites appear to bearing more of the brunt of criminal prosecution. They are most often depicted as little different from traditional warez servers, despite their functionality as mere indexers and not containing any copyrighted material.

However ShareConnector's owner and his indexing counterparts insist there is nothing illegal about linking to files on a particular network. Considering that eDonkey2000 and BitTorrent links contain nothing more than metadata which directs users to files (authorized and unauthorized), the concept of indexing has been a legal gray area. Investigators in Sweden, for example, were unable to compile enough evidence against The Pirate Bay in 2005 to effectively prosecute this BitTorrent tracker/indexer.

Hoping for a similar legal ambiguity in the Netherlands, ShareConnector begins its fight for survival on Friday with a sense of optimism. ShareConnector also hopes to expose several holes in the prosecution’s case, especially the contention that illegal (or unauthorized) files were stored on their server.

“If eDonkey links were illegal by law, we would never have started a site like ShareConnector," the administrator and owner of ShareConnector told "Even there's nothing illegal about it they still cowardly managed to confiscate our servers and property. They are even accusing us of false charges, which conclude there are illegal copies of movies on our servers. That's why we'll fight for our rights against injustice to the bitter end!”

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
eDonkey2000 :: ed2k Indexing Sites
Legal/Courtroom :: Other Lawsuits

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