The UK's Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) recently announced that hackers James Marks, 27, and James McCormick, 26, both received six-month suspended sentences and were ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid community service work for breaching Sony Music's servers and stealing Michael Jackson songs, including unreleased tracks.
"The hackers, who met through a fan website forum, also downloaded music by artists including Elvis, Beyonce, JLS, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears," The Telegraph reports. "In total they downloaded around 7,000 files which were completed tracks or the component parts, as well as artwork and videos, SOCA said. Marks and McCormick were arrested in May 2011 after Sony identified the security breach."
"These men stole thousands of copyrighted files belonging to Sony Music," SOCA's Mick Jameson said in a statement. "Our remit is to protect businesses as well as the public, and we will continue to work closely with law enforcement and industry partners to tackle online criminality."
"The pair claimed they only wanted to gather evidence that some Jackson material released after his death didn't actually feature the singer's voice," writes BBC's Jim Taylor. "Sony Music has always denied that vocals on some tracks on the posthumous album 'Michael' were done by another singer. ... Speaking outside court, James Marks said he was sorry for downloading the files but was still determined to prove Michael Jackson didn't sing on some tracks on 'Michael.'"