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Two sentenced for hacking Sony Music servers


Two men have today been sentenced for hacking the servers of Sony Music.

Gregor McGill, Head of Organised Crime at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "James Marks and James McCormick have today been sentenced for hacking the servers of one of the world's largest recorded music companies from their home computers in Daventry and Blackpool respectively.

"Both huge enthusiasts of Michael Jackson, they targeted Sony Music, which has the exclusive licence to the late musician's catalogue. 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.

"In simple terms, these men broke into a computer system and took music files that were not theirs to take. That was criminal activity."


They were sentenced at Leicester Crown Court to six months suspended for one year and 100 hours community requirement, having each pleaded guilty to two counts of unauthorised access to computer material. 

The first hacking of the Sony servers was achieved using a compromised e-card, but the process for downloading proved slow. The court heard that, determined to hugely increase the scale of the hacking, McCormick later created computer script enabling the two men to download thousands of files of music. e-cards were issued to authorised persons by Sony in 2010 to facilitate data delivery.