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British Hackers Avoid Jail After Admitting to Stealing Unreleased Michael Jackson Tracks

Image courtesy of Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage (via ABC News Radio)
Image courtesy of Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage (via ABC News Radio)

Two British hackers have been ordered to complete 100 hours of community service, after they admitted to downloading close to 8,000 music files containing copyrighted music by Michael Jackson , along with artwork and videos related to him.  Some of files included unreleased songs or the components of unreleased songs.

That's according to British newspaper The Telegraph , which reports that James Marks, 27, and James McCormick, 26,  pleaded guilty to two counts of unauthorized access to computer material.  They were arrested in 2011 after Sony Music identified a security breach that also affected material from Beyonce , Elvis Presley and other top stars, according to The Telegraph .

"Both huge enthusiasts of Michael Jackson, they targeted Sony Music, which has the exclusive license to the late musician's catalog," a British prosecutor said of the hackers, The Telegraph reports.  He added that the two men "took steps to sell on and to share the music with a wider audience in Internet forums."

Sony Music reportedly signed a seven-year deal with Michael's estate following his 2009 death.  Sony has rights to sell the King of Pop's unreleased recordings, as part of a deal worth an estimated $250 million.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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