Page last updated at 16:33 GMT, Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Music sharer's motive 'not money'

Oink website
The site facilitated 21 million downloads, the court heard

A Teesside man who set up a large-scale music-sharing website in his bedroom has told a court he never intended to make money from the operation.

Alan Ellis, 26, who founded the Oink site, had almost $300,000 in Paypal accounts when police arrested him in 2007, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The software engineer, who denies conspiracy to defraud, said he only wanted to refresh his computer skills.

He said he had been unhappy with his "outdated" software engineering degree.

The site had 200,000 active members and facilitated about 21 million downloads, the prosecution has alleged.

I certainly didn't intend to make money, but there was a surplus in donations
Alan Ellis

It allowed members to find other people on the web who were prepared to share files.

Users were required to make a donation to be able to invite friends to join the site, the court heard.

Ellis, of Grange Road in Middlesbrough, said he used time before he started a placement with a large chemical firm to write the code needed to set up Oink.

He told defence barrister Alex Stein: "It was to further my skills. To better my skills for employability."

Originally, the site was hosted on his home computer, but by 2007 it had moved to a commercial server in Amsterdam because of the amount of internet traffic it was attracting.

Ellis claimed there was no intention to defraud copyright holders, and when asked if he made any money from Oink, he said: "I certainly didn't intend to make money, but there was a surplus in donations."

The trial continues.

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