U.K. Hackers Who Stole Michael Jackson Songs Sentenced to Community Service

2012-30 FEA Venice Bad Michael Jackson H

Jackson on the set of the "Bad" video. Says Spike Lee, "Like all the great ones, Michael made it look easy, but he was a perfectionist."

They downloaded close to 8,000 Sony Music files, including unreleased tracks by the late King of Pop.

LONDON - Sony Music Entertainment has won a legal case against two British hackers who downloaded unreleased Michael Jackson songs.

James Marks, 27, and James McCormick, 26, were arrested in 2011 after Sony Music reported breaches of its U.S. servers. They pleaded guilty to two counts of unauthorized access to computer material late last year and have now been sentenced to 100 hours of community service.

Investigators found that the duo downloaded close to 8,000 music files by and about the late King of Pop, including completed and partial songs never released before, videos and artwork.

Other unnamed Sony artists were also targeted, the Associated Press reported.

Gregor McGill, head of organized crime at Britain's Crown Prosecution Service, said: "Both huge enthusiasts of Michael Jackson, they targeted Sony Music, which has the exclusive license to the late musician’s catalog...It was the prosecution’s case that these men were fully aware that the files they obtained on their computers were subject to copyright and that they took steps to sell on and to share the music with a wider audience in Internet forums."
Authorities said the first hacking of the Sony servers was possible with a compromised e-card issued by Sony to people engaged in data delivery.
Sony Music has an estimated $250 million deal to sell unreleased material from Michael Jackson, according to the AP.

The singer died in 2009.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai