Previously unreleased music material of late ‘King of Pop’, Michael Jackson has allegedly been stolen by internet hackers.
The music files, numbering more 50,000, most of which were by the late pop legend, are said to have been illegally downloaded, without due recompense to the late singer’s estate.
Jackson’s estate signed the biggest recording deal in history, reportedly worth a whopping $250m (N40b) with Sony in 2010, giving it the rights to sell his whole back catalogue as well as previously unreleased tracks.
On Friday, March 2, 2012, two men who were arrested in May 2011 appeared in court in the UK, accused of offences in connection with the alleged security breach.
James Marks, 26, from Daventry in Northamptonshire, and James McCormick, 25, from Blackpool, denied charges under the Computer Misuse Act and the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act at Leicester crown court. The pair who were released on bail are however to stand trial in January 2013.
Sony Music is home to a string of major artists, including Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon, Foo Fighters and Avril Lavigne, and also distributes the music of guitaristJimi Hendrix.
The company signed its contract with Jackson’s estate nine months after he died from a drug overdose at the age of 50, leaving hundreds of millions of dollars of debt behind him.
The deal also entitled the firm to use his music in computer games, television adverts and elsewhere, with profits from the arrangement to go into a trust shared by the singer’s mother and three children.