Questions about ShareReactor Investigations
Q. Dela: Ok, so from what I have read, you were basically tricked into going to Police?
Simon Moon: No. Yes. No. They sent me a letter requesting my presence "regarding finances in general" from the "fraud division" of the police here. Since i am self employed i thought someone made some accusation. So nothing bad in mind with my documents all in order, i went there. It wasn't about the finances, it was all about ShareReactor.
Q. Dela: Must have been a shock. How did SAFE fit into this?
Simon Moon: SAFE is sort of an organization like the BSA and the IFPI. Private, self justice department. They sent a private investigator to a meeting, a public one, in Zurich , where some people that were on the SR forum met up and had a chat. Mostly it was about politics, which was really fun. A bit later SAFE thought they have proof that i am the evil guy and called the police, telling them that i am infringing copyright etc. About a month later, i got the letter form the police to show up.
Q. Dela: While I was looking around about SAFE, I found a page on ShareReactor that claimed that Columbia TriStar may have had something to do with it. Would you believe these claims or are they just rumors?
Simon Moon: SAFE is funded by the big ones. TriStar is part of Sony, and so member of SAFE so to speak. You can find tons on their page, even that SR was a "metaserver" whatever they define as that.
Q. Dela: Back to the Police Station for a moment. They kept you in for about 9 hours? What did they do all the time?
Simon Moon: Asked about SR. Asked me where money came in and where it went to. The whole thing lost pretty fast steam as they saw how big a loss SR produced every month, and how little money in total was flowing at all. SAFE told them something about 15'000 Euros income a month, while they told papers something about 76'000 Euros.
Q. Dela: And when you finally got to go home, it was to be raided?
Simon Moon: I went in in the morning. I couldn't go home over lunch. At the end of the day, the investigation judge said "and now we go and raid your house" and so we drove there.
Q. Dela: And what was taken on the day? Have you had anything returned since?
Simon Moon: Taken was a whole lot; two ShareReactor servers, my private machine and my girlfriend's private machine, my folder with all bank files, although i gave them a copy of all my bank activities of the last 4 years already. Also all my backups went with them. At the end SR was down and i had none of my data left, personal and otherwise. I got SOME (very little) data back about 2 weeks after this started, just VERY essential data like contacts and such things. Then it took a while, where i also got my account unfrozen that was locked the same day the raid happened. About 3 months alter i got my bank files back, as i needed them for filing income tax and about 6 months after this started, they returned some more data and the computer of my girlfriend. They still have ALL backups, the two servers and my machine.
Dela: So let me get this straight, they left their highest priority stuff to last? Investigated all your files and personal stuff before your SR servers?
Simon Moon: I am SURE about that as i got a call more than 3 months after all this started asking me two things. First, he asked me, what kind of file system the server has. Now, knowing they do a copy of the hard disk first and then use the copy to investigate, they couldn't have read any data up to that point, not knowing what file system is on that hard disk. Second he asked what OS was on it. Well, starting it once says "Linux" pretty soon. Also he asked me which distribution and version number. Again, starting it ONCE even with a copied disk, would reveal that information, as it says nicely "Debian Linux 3.0" once it's booted.
Dela: Wow, and they call these guys experts? So it seems they are purposely delaying the investigation, which could work out bad for them in the end
Simon Moon: They want to sit it out for a new law to come up so if they lose, they might try to catch me with something else as they don't want to look like they aren't "thorough". There is a good reason for that. They were in my house 18 months before that time already. They came in, i explained what i do. They asked ME what they should do here, and then I was at a loss of words. So i gave them a copy of the database and the page scripts. They left, and i later got a letter that the matter was dropped. That's that.
Q. Dela: Oh I never knew about that happening but now I understand why they feel the need to delay as long as they can. Now things are bad at the moment, but things always potential to become worse, have you discussed any possibilities of further legal trouble with your lawyer?
Simon Moon: Like?
Dela: Perhaps legal action been taken against you by the entertainment industry. Of course, the legal grounds they would have for it are slim, but what we've come to realize is that doesn't seem to stop them, they have money to burn
Simon Moon: Wait, you get something wrong, I pay taxes in Switzerland and those taxes paid, are used to investigate against me, not the companies or SAFE's money, as this is not a civil case, but a criminal investigation.
Dela: No i do understand that, what I'm saying is, we've seen it happen over and over, entertainment industry bring someone or some business to court, even if they aren't really breaking any laws, but they try anyway, probably just trying annoy the hell out of a person so much that they'd close their service down etc. even though some legal harm may be avoided by you, I'm sure the last thing you would need in your life is an on going battle with the entertainment industry, so consider this as a possibility. Sharereactor returns as they drop the whole investigation, you put it back online, a few months later you are sued - basically on stupid grounds by some company who have just 1 aim, to disrupt the service.
Simon Moon: I know what you mean, but there is a small problem. SR coming out of this cleared, will mean they can do whatever they want, and it will be squished by the legal system before it even really reaches me.
Q. Dela: Ye i guess, I must be thinking of things the way they are done in the U.S. You could sue anybody for pretty much anything, anyway - of course, as we mentioned earlier, things like this always manage to attract morons, i guess it was extremely discomforting seeing more rumors being spread, especially around forums? Anything to say about that, or about the people who attempted to start it all up again?
Simon Moon: I wasn't allowed to talk to anyone at the beginning. So browsing forums and reading this crap was pretty frustrating. There are conspiracy theories, and all of them have the one big flaw that you can check all the facts yourself and see what a big bunch of bull it is. I don't give much attention to them, good for a laugh in between though.
Q. Dela: Nah, they aren't worth paying much attention to, how was your support from friends when all this began to where it is now?
Simon Moon: Good. The support i got helped me big time; especially from my girlfriend. Most support i got from a very small group of people, and i am deeply grateful to all of them. Later i also got support from my team, as i was allowed to talk to them again. That was very good to see. A lot people would have jumped the ship, but the admin's stuck around and backed me up.
Q. Dela: Before ShareReactor was shut down, an amount of money was donated to help the site. Was this money frozen or confiscated? Or can you use it in your defense if needed?
Simon Moon: The donated money was spent. Some of it was for the server, some of it for the new line. Little was left over and that went to the attorney for my defense, as did the money that was donated over RespectP2P.
Dela: I guess it goes without saying it looks like a lot more donations are needed to help clean this mess up?
Simon Moon: Right now, i don't need any money. If they drop it soon, then that was that. The donations don't cover really the lawyer's bill, but he knows that. So, once this is all over i will know how much money i owe to him, and if i need more donations or if i can pay it all by myself. For the time being, donations are not really needed. If this goes to court, i will be in need for more money.
Q. Dela: You have mentioned how some of your personal stuff was taken in the raid, your accounts frozen etc. so if it was completely dropped, would you not be in a position to take some legal action, maybe to claim for damages done?
Simon Moon: Possibly. At this point i am not thinking about it really. One step at a time.
Q. Dela: I'll ask just one more thing about the investigation - ShareReactor - was it worth all this trouble? It's easy for users of the site to say that it was, because they haven't experienced what you have.
Simon Moon: Looking back at it, No. But it's too late now to even think about that. This is about more then P2P. There were a lot personal things that were happening because of this investigation, and i realized what a really unjust justice system we have here in Switzerland . I am frankly disgusted with it by now and wish i could just pack my bags and leave, but it doesn't work that easy and on the other hand, i feel an obligation to the users of SR and my fellow admin's. SR was a very interesting experience for me. Let's phrase it this way. I didn't realize what i was getting myself into, until i was into it way too deep.
Q. Dela: Ok, that'll do for investigation questions, ill just ask a few other questions now, about nothing very serious.
Simon Moon: Go!
Written by: James Delahunty