11 January 2013
Two British men who hacked into the servers of one of the world’s largest recorded music companies and stole thousands of data files were sentenced today.
Michael Jackson fanatics James Marks, aged 27, from Daventry, and James McCormick, aged 26, from Blackpool, targeted Sony Music as they held the copyright to his music.
Marks and McCormick both pleaded guilty to two computer misuse offences in September 2012 and received six month sentences suspended for one year at Leicester Crown Court. They were also ordered to do 100 hours unpaid work.
Mick Jameison, from SOCA Cyber, said: “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.”
The duo, who met through a fan website forum, obtained a compromised e-card which had been used to share data and this enabled them to access the servers in the US. They searched for and downloaded Jackson-related files, including unreleased tracks, to their home computers. McCormick then wrote a script to speed up the process, and they also obtained material of other artists on Sony Music’s books.
Marks and McCormick downloaded around 7,900 files which were either completed tracks or the component parts, which are known as stems, as well as artwork and videos.
After Sony Music identified the security breach, officers from SOCA launched an investigation and arrested Marks and McCormick in May 2011. Chatlogs recovered from their computer hard drives showed they were planning to sell or trade some of the files.