The domain owner arrested in the Mulve file sharing case has been cleared by UK law enforcement, after it was learned that he isn’t the programmer behind Mulve.
Eric, who also registered the domain, wasn’t responsible for writing the Mulve program, and hasn’t seen the source code. He was initially detained related to copyright infringement, conspiracy to defraud, and distributing stolen goods that could “cause loss of money to third parties.”
The Mulve service allowed users to search a large catalog of music stored on servers in Russia. Not surprisingly, copyright groups were fast to seek legal methods to try and have the service shut down quickly.
“On the 6th of October, at approximately 8am a group of unidentified men entered my apartment and only later identified themselves as police officers,” Eric said in an interview. “They then went ahead to confiscate all my electronic equipment. Laptops, flash drives, cell phones etc.”
Mulve first started receiving mainstream attention in late September, and quickly received a DMCA takedown notice from the RIAA. Less than two weeks later, Mulve operator Eric was arrested and charged related to the three crimes listed earlier.
It’s good to see the charges were dropped, and it’s frightening how fast authorities were to react without additional investigation. Sadly, it’s the British taxpayers footing the bill for this police activity — against the completely wrong person.
It was obvious the RIAA or another copyright group would have Mulve shut down, but the technology behind the platform is now being shared on BitTorrent and many copycats have surfaced. In the end, all this goes to show is that authorities are quick to arrest individuals and quickly confiscate their belongings, without having a full understanding on what is really going on. Hopefully this puts a spotlight on erroneous law enforcement and makes the UK authorities more cautious in the future.