back to article Two Brits in court over Michael Jackson back catalogue hack

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 …


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  1. Tzael

    Security, get a clue...

    Why the fuck was back catalogue material connected to a public network?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Security, get a clue...

      Yeah, this is going to stain Sony's flawless security record.

  2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  3. Stuart 25

    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.

    1. Anonymous Cowerd

      Re: In a UK court?

      I wonder what the maximum sentence for copying Michael Jackson songs is?

      In a US court, you only get 4 years for killing him.

      1. MacGyver
        Thumb Up

        Re: In a UK court?


        That's deep.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In a UK court?

        If you copy his songs, people have to listen to them. If you kill him, people don't. Sounds like the right way around to me.

  4. Dr. Mouse

    SOCA Again?!

    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.

    1. tkioz
      Thumb Up

      Re: SOCA Again?!

      While this is a lot more serious then run of the mill piracy, after all someone did hack into a secure network, a crime, to me "serious crime" involves possible or actual bodily harm done to someone.

      No matter how "elite" you are, hacking into a network and nicking songs is very unlikely to physically hurt someone.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: SOCA Again?!

        this type of acts undermines the business trust, which could cause less investment and loss of business. which in turn leads to less work for the people in the country where this problem originated. Those who say this is not a serious crime are digital age retards. Information will be/is the most important asset in the near to far future. It will be what will cause bankrupcies. Imagine this: due to hacking of the secure networks of maclaren a Chinese company got all their secrets; in two years they come with a cheap Chinese maclaren (cheap because no R&D really), same design, etc. They might even disguise it as a European car to make it sexier. 2 more years later maclaren is reduced to nought - all those thousands of people at maclaren are not employed in UK anymore but in China (Chinese people yeah). Without this kind of work the middle class dwindles and the social stability it provides is diminished as well. Soon the robbery gets rampant in the city of maclaren and people start to get killed. How's that for a nightmare scenario because of a digital crime?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: SOCA Again?!

          There's no need for such design information to be Internet accessible. Just mandate that your employees can't have remote access and don't hand out laptops to store things on.

  5. g e
    Black Helicopters


    How did they identify the perps? Did they have static IP's or something?

    Or perhaps this is how long DHCP records are kept for (at least...), which is somewhat revealing

    1. NomNomNom

      Re: Ummmm

      my guess is they they are at least recording the source and destination IP of every tcp connection ever made. I wouldn't rely on anything less.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ummmm

        A record is kept of IP addresses assigned to customers. Each record contains a minimum of the IP address, the MAC address, the customer, the date and time, and the length of lease.

        No records are kept (by the ISP) of source and destination IP (and port) addresses for each TCP connection

  6. Tiny Iota

    If they are found guilty…

    …would that make them Smooth Criminals?

  7. irish donkey

    So if this is what the publicly funded SOCA/Police are doing

    What duties will our new Private/Contractor Police force be involved in.

    hmmm somehow I think yet again Joe Public is getting the thin end of the blue line here.

  8. Morphius

    Wrong song to sing on the way into court...

    Because I'm Bad, I'm Bad-

    Come On

    (Bad Bad-Really, Really Bad)

    You Know I'm Bad, I'm Bad-

    You Know It

    (Bad Bad-Really, Really Bad)

    You Know I'm Bad, I'm Bad-

    Come On, You Know

    (Bad Bad-Really, Really Bad)

    And The Whole World Has To

    Answer Right Now

    Just To Tell You Once Again,

    Who's Bad . . .

    1. NomNomNom

      Re: Wrong song to sing on the way into court...

      shocking stuff. If he didn't sing that in a funny voice it would never have worked.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Charged under copyright Infringement cases?

    Are they serious? when did copyright stop being a civil matter? or are they just hoping the judge sees things thru the same rose tinted glasses the bent cops use?

    1. Desktop Mobile

      Re: Uhm?

      Copyright infringement for commercial gain has always been a criminal matter.

      i.e. Copy/Backup a DVD at home for yourself Civil matter that no one is interested in.

      Copy a DVD and flog it down a car boot Criminal offence that can see you potentially sharing a cell with Chris Huhne

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Uhm?


      Please fix this error



      The requested resource


      is no longer available on this server and there is no forwarding address. Please remove all references to this resource.

      Apache/2.2.16 (Debian) Server at Port 80


      @Desktop Mobile

      I wasn't aware they were selling them, only that they were caught hacking into and downloading unauthorised files from Sony corp.

      1. MacGyver

        Re: Uhm?

        If they are being charged with theft anyway, I say next time live up to that definition and delete the originals after "coping" them. Now that would be some "theft".

        "Oh look, there is a difference."

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can some one explian this..

    Maybe I am reading this wrong but ...

    "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"

    This sound like they were arrested prior to being convicted of anything. What am I missing?

    1. rtli-

      Re: Can some one explian this..

      "This sound like they were arrested prior to being convicted of anything."

      Usually one goes through a trial before convicting someone. Maybe just a formality, but we like it.

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Can some one explian this..

      What would your preferred approach be?

      Convict in absentia behind closed doors, then arrest your chosen perp(s) and finally hold a quick show trial to rubber stamp the process and hand out a sentence?

      You are Lavrentiy Beria and ICMFP.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Arrest then charge then fix a court date. Usual procedure, I believe.

  12. rtli-

    "There was a degree of sophistication."

    So...they were able to use a computer, then?

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    SOCA == Sony's On Call Agency ?

    Ok, I get the message.

  15. Just Thinking

    A duet with Freddie Mercury? He's been dead for over 20 years, it must have been a fantastic track if they haven't released it yet.

  16. Keep Refrigerated

    Other unreleased hits from the back catalogue include...

    Who Wants Copyright Forever - Mercury/Jackson

    I Want To Download Free - Mercury/Jackson

    The Way You Make Me Fileshare - Jackson

    Bittorrent It - Jackson

    Dirty Downloader - Jackson

    Wanna Be Seeding Something - Jackson

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Other unreleased hits from the back catalogue include...

      I see what you did there.....

      "Don't Stop 'til You Get 100% Seed!"

      "Torrent on the Mirror"

      "They Don't Care About US, Copyright law"

      "(Probably) hosted in Moscow"

  17. dssf

    "Marks and McCormick"

    "Marks and McCormick" sounds like the beginnings of a security/forensics firm...

    I wonder if those 50,000 include stuff from ~ 1999, which had Michael Jackson, Alice Cooper (or similar), with Aniken, Samuel L. Jackson (images from Pulp Fiction, explaining the Nabu Royale Big Mack fro Tatooine or somesuch) and about MJ adopting (buying) Aniken from his mom, who puportedly sold her body to males...

    It was a crazy-assed posting, (maybe around 40 or so slides) and was so raunchy (you can guess) that it eventually was completely removed from the Internets. I only saw it a few days, and only stumbled upon it when trying to find URLs to First Class Postal System (by SoftArc). Strangely, the FCP string brought back that site. Every couple of years I search on the off chance that someone resurfaced the repo. But, I fail to find it, and each time I fail, I figure somebody got their ass sued so badly they invented a time machine to delete every bit and byted and flipped all the 1s and 0s to erase the caches.

    It was quite funny or interesting for some, but I imagine M Jackson's lawyers summoned time slayers, hence the "unfindability". So, if Sony somehow was given those files in the event of chain of custody and lineage reasons to take ownership of a potential future lawsuit, then I can imagine Sony being upset from a *legal* perspective. But, if two Brits could hack Sony's systems, surely domestic Japanese and numerous Chinese and North Korean operatives with a lot more to gain also made penetrations all over Japan, and Sony.

    Factual Disclaimer: I did not retain nor make any copies... And, the computer that it was downloaded to was probably wiped in year 2000, when I changed departments.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Re: Other unreleased hits from the back catalogue include...

    P.Y.T (Pwnd Your Tunes)

  19. Barrie Shepherd

    50,000 files - won't be long before they appear on Wikileaks.

  20. miknik
    Thumb Down

    50,000 files?

    C'mon please. MJ died at 50, to have a back catalogue of 50,000 files would mean recording around 3 every single day the guy was alive...

    1. min

      Re: 50,000 files?

      ..Which is probably why it was clarified that 50,000 files did not mean 50,000 songs mate.

      and it is perfectly reasonable to have many versions of particular songs, or even takes with mistakes etc. not that i am speculating that this was what was downloaded by our two 'sophisticated to a degree' cyber crooks here.

      SOCA is such a waste. dreadful.

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