James Marks, 27, and James McCormick, 26, hacked Sony Music’s servers and managed to download about 8.000 files, including songs, artwork and videos. All the content belonged to a number of musicians, including the King of Pop. Sony Music group had refused to provide any information on the nature of the stolen files, so the details are very scarce, but an official statement by the UK’s Serious and Organized Crime Agency claimed that some of the leaked files were stems. Stems are audio tracks that you can use in mixes and overdubs.
After being notified of the hacker attack, Sony Music immediately contacted the authorities of the United Kingdom and the intruders were arrested in May 2011. Unfortunately, the police found chat logs on their personal computers, which revealed that Marks and McCormick had the intention to sell and/or trade some of the downloaded music files.
James Marks and James McCormick pleaded “not guilty”, claiming that they “would never do anything to harm the legacy that is Michael Jackson’s music”. However, in September, they both pleaded guilty on charges of illegal access to computer material. This past Friday, the Leicester Crown Court has issued its ruling, which sentenced the hackers to 100 hours of community service. Not that much, actually.