German teen hacker jailed for stealing unreleased Gaga tracks

2011-06-16 13:50

Germany – A German teenager who broke into pop stars’ computers, stole Lady Gaga and Justin Timberlake tracks ahead of release, and sold them to fans was jailed today for 18 months.

The 18-year-old, who styled himself DJ Stolen and operated from his parents’ home, was convicted of computer break-ins by a young person’s court in Duisburg, Germany.

Another 23-year-old man, also still living with his parents, was given a suspended term of 18 months. Prosecutors said the two netted 15 000 euros (22 000 dollars) by beating the stars to the launch of their own songs.

Both admitted cruising the internet looking for music-studio computers where leading stars’ music might happen to be stored and infecting these with trojans, a program that allows a hacker to silently take control of a computer.

Their raids, which began in 2009, also netted songs by US singers Kesha and Mariah Carey, Britain’s Leona Lewis and Canadian-born Nelly Furtado. Their pirated tracks were also marketed on-line.

Fans who objected to music being sold from dubious sources blew the whistle on the two hackers.

Judges rejected a defence demand that the stars testify in court about why they had not required their studios to use better anti-virus protection on their computers.

When police caught up with the older hacker, they discovered he had acquired 970 unreleased tracks between March 2009 and July 2010.

“It was like an addiction. I needed to get new tracks every single day,” he told the court. “I was respected among all the other hackers.”

After giving police a list of top music hackers and how to find them, he was let off serving jail time. 

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