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Michael Jackson: Hackers charged in stealing unreleased tracks

Hackers charged for stealing Michael Jackson's unreleased music
Hackers charged for stealing Michael Jackson's unreleased music
Itsuo Inouye / Associated Press

Two men were arrested and charged with hacking Sony's computer files, and stealing the late Michael Jackson's back catalogue, on Friday, March 2nd.

While the alleged crime took place last April, the incident was kept under wraps until now.

According to Fox News, a source within Sony said the Jackson estate was told about the hack but the company did not have to make the knowledge public as there was no customer data involved. Unlike last April, when the company experienced a major confidentiality breach after its Sony PlayStation Network was hacked and personal information of over 77 million users was stolen.

This go round, the label's music archive was hacked, including the King of Pop's back catalogue, and the cyber thieves illegally downloaded digital files including material from studio sessions during the making of some of Jackson's biggest hits.

In September of last year, Smooth Criminal fans James McCormick, 25, and James Mark, 26, were charged with copyright offences and computer misuse. The duo pleaded not guilty on Friday, March 2 in a United Kingdom courtroom. The men were then released on bail and set to stand trial in January, 2013, according to the Associated Press.

Value of Michael Jackson's Back Catalogue

In 2010, Sony purchased the music collection from Jackson's estate for a reported $395 million following his untimely death in 2009. The hefty contract with the MJ estate maintained for seven years Sony would have the rights to music released following Jackson's death, including up to 10 new albums.

A source told press, "Everything Sony purchased from the Jackson estate was compromised."

The stolen Jackson tracks reportedly included a duet with the late Freddie Mercury and a collaboration with Black Eyed Peas frontman

How the cyber crooks were caught

After an extensive investigation, experts reportedly traced the hack to the United Kingdom by examining a 'fingerprint' allegedly left behind by the two "fans".

The UK's Serious Organized Crime division then reportedly took over the case, with the two men appearing in court last Friday and charged with offences under the computer Misuse Act.

Story developing................

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