Two Brits in court over Michael Jackson back catalogue hack
Pair deny lifting unreleased tracks from Sony
Two British men have denied hacking into Sony's systems and downloading 50,000 files covering Michael Jackson's entire back catalogue - including unreleased songs.
James Marks, 26, from Daventry in Northamptonshire, and James McCormick, 25, from Blackpool, appeared at Leicester Crown Court charged with computer hacking and copyright infringement offences. Both pleaded not guilty and were bailed to stand trial in January 2013.
Sony had bought the material from the Jackson estate for $250m (£164m) in 2010, months before data was allegedly siphoned from Sony's insecure network. A breach was discovered during an audit of Sony's gear following last year's Sony's PlayStation Network mega-hack.
"Everything Sony purchased from the Michael Jackson estate was compromised," claimed a source, talking to The Sunday Times. "It caused them to check their systems and they found the breach. There was a degree of sophistication. Sony identified the weakness and plugged the gap."
The songs allegedly lifted included an unreleased duet featuring Jackson and Queen front man Freddie Mercury, as well as unpressed versions of songs from studio recordings of Jackson's albums including Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad, according to music industry news sites. The court was told 50,000 files were allegedly swiped but this does not mean that the same number of songs were taken, contrary to earlier media reports.
Sony Music has yet to comment. Marks and McCormick were arrested by officers from the Serious and Organised Crime Agency in May before charges of violations against the Computer Misuse Act and Copyright, Designs and Patents Act were filed last September, a SOCA spokesman confirmed. ®
In a UK court?
Makes a change having Brits accused of copyright theft actually being tried in the UK.
Or maybe it was the Sony parent corporation rather than the USA company.
Either way it would be interesting to know why the CPS decided that UK prosecution was the right option this time when they seem to enjoy sending accused Brits abroad.
Why the hell is this kind of thing being dealt with by SOCA?!
It is NOT a serious crime!! Stealing a penny sweet from a corner shop is a more serious crime than copying files like this from a server somewhere. This deprives Sony of nothing, and the only effect (assuming the files weren't distributed, which the article doesn't mention) is to force Sony to close a security hole in their network, which they should be doing anyway.
Serious crimes cause serious harm. Even if the files were distributed and it could be proven that this cost Sony significant amounts of money, it is still not a SERIOUS crime. There is not enough detail to know if it was "organised crime", but I would guess not, just a couple of "hackers" operating on their own.
SOCA my arse! They should go out and meet some victims of REAL, SERIOUS CRIME to get their priorities right, families of murder victims, victims of assault etc. Or, at the very least, be renamed so the name actually portrays what they are dealing with. I wish I had the imagination to fit a decent backronym to a descriptive word.
Security, get a clue...
Why the fuck was back catalogue material connected to a public network?