Two persons who were allegedly responsible for stealing a large number of Michael Jackson's unreleased songs from Sony Music's computers had been arrested. A source told The Associated Press that the suspects, 26-year-old James Marks from Daventry in Northamptonshire and 25-year-old James McCormick from Blackpool, were fans of the late King of Pop.
Britain's Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) confirmed the two men were arrested in May last year and charged in September under the Computer Misuse Act and the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. The twosome pleaded not guilty when appearing at Leicester crown court recently. They have been released on bail, and are expected to stand trial in January next year.
The hacking reportedly took place in April last year when an "illegal and unauthorized person" accessed Sony's PlayStation Network and stole the personal data of 77 million registered users. Sony Music Entertainment representative Liz Young assured "no customer data were compromised in the attack on the company's internal music-sharing system."
However, sources claimed more than 50,000 music files were stolen in the security-breach case. The company that paid the Jackson estate $250 million to own the right to his unreleased materials from 10 projects over seven years would not specify whose songs were illegally downloaded, but it's said that Jackson's entire back catalog was among the stolen piles.
"Everything Sony purchased from the Michael Jackson estate was compromised," a source testified to The Sunday Times. They allegedly included never-before-heard duets with Black Eyed Peas' will.i.am and Queen's Freddie Mercury. Several weeks after the hacking, the theft was discovered through routine monitoring of social networking sites, Jackson fan sites and hacking forums.
They "immediately took steps to secure the site and notify authorities. As a result, the two suspects were arrested," so Young said in a statement. The company, which becomes the home for Chris Brown, Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon, Foo Fighters and Avril Lavigne, reportedly had already informed the Jackson estate about the hacking before contacting SOCA.