Music pirates spared jail over Sony Jacko hack

Music pirates spared jail over Sony Jacko hack
Pirates were 'huge Michael Jackson enthusiasts'

A pair of not-so-smooth criminals have avoided a prison sentence after they admitted stealing items from Michael Jackson's back catalogue.

Jacko fans James Marks, 27, and James McCormick, 26, 'fessed up to hacking their way into Sony Music's US servers and swiping over 8,000 files.

The bounty included a host of unreleased tracks recorded by the late King of Pop, potentially worth millions.

According to the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency, the haul also included artwork, videos and partial tracks which could be used in mixes, as well as tracks from other Sony Music artists.


Marks and McCormick, who were arrested back in May 2011, were both sentenced to a six-month prison sentences, suspended for one year, and ordered to partake in 100 hours of community service.

The pair, who met on an online forum, were described by prosecutors as huge Jacko fans who attacked Sony with full knowledge that they may unearth some unreleased gems.

Gregor McGill, head of organised crime at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "At the time of his death, there existed recorded but unreleased Michael Jackson music which aroused the attention of Marks and McCormick.

"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."

Following Jackson's death, Sony had signed a multi-year licensing deal with his estate, worth up to $250m.

Via Telegraph

Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.