They’re Bad: Michael Jackson Hackers Sentenced

Michael Jackson - - ©Joe Seer

Men who stole Jackson music avoid jail time

Two UK male hackers who cracked Sony servers to steal music by the late Michael Jackson have been sentenced, but managed to avoid prison.

James Marks and James McCormick, both massive Jackson fans, broke into the servers of Sony Music, which held the copyright to the music. Once they had compromised the servers, McCormick wrote a script to automate the process, which also stole material by other artists.

Michael Jackson 2 - Shutterstock - © ostillIn total they downloaded around 7,900 files in 2011, consisting of both completed tracks and separate parts of songs.

Hackers avoid jail

They pleaded guilty to two computer misuse offences in September last year and have now been sentenced to six month sentences suspended for one year. They have been ordered to carry out 100 hours community service.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) was called in last year to investigate, which led to the arrest of Marks and McCormick in May 2011.

“These men stole thousands of copyrighted files belonging to Sony Music. Our remit is to protect businesses as well the public, and we will continue to work closely with law enforcement and industry partners to tackle online criminality,” said Mick Jameison, from SOCA Cyber.

Sony had a torrid time in 2011. It was repeatedly hit by hackers, with the most significant attack compromising data of almost 80 million PlayStation Network users.

A decision on the case from the UK’s privacy watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), is still incoming, despite claims it should have been wrapped up in 2012.

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