Two men allegedly hacked and stole Michael Jackson music from Sony

By Daniel S Levine,

Two British men are being accused of hacking into Sony Music’s computers and stealing the music of the late Michael Jackson. The two men appeared in UK court on Friday, after being arrested last May.

According to The Guardian, the two men are James Marks, 26, and James McCormick, 25. Both are being charged under the UK’s Computer Misuse Act and the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act and have denied the charges. The Serious Organized Crime Agency told the media that they were released on bail and will not stand trial until January 2013.

The Associated Press reports that Sony refused to say just how many tracks from how many different artists Marks and McCormick stole. However, the King of Pop’s music is easily the most lucrative in Sony’s catalog. In 2010, the company signed a record seven-year deal with the King of Pop’s estate to market his unreleased music and his albums. The deal was reportedly worth at least $250 million.

Sony spokeswoman Liz Young did tell the media that when the company discovered that Marks and McCormick had hacked into their system in May, they “...immediately took steps to secure the site and notify authorities. As a result, the two suspects were arrested.’’

Other artists whose music is in Sony’s catalog include Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, the Foo Fighters and many others. The company also distributes Jimi Hendrix’s recordings, notes the Guardian.

This is just the latest case of hacking Sony has had to deal with, coming less than a year after hackers gained access to personal information through millions of PlayStation Network and Qriocity accounts, reports Reuters. One of the major international hacking collectives called Lulz Security claimed responsibility for that attack, but the AP reports that Lulz Security and Anonymous are not believed to be connected to this latest incident.

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