James Marks and James McCormick, two British men that hacked into Sony records and downloaded hundreds of unreleased songs from artists like Michael Jackson, have managed to avoid jail time and will instead receive suspended sentences and community service.
As with other hackers we've reported on before like Gary McKinnon, the pair claim they were just looking for information, based off of a rumour that some of Jackson's posthumous releases were in-fact sung by other people. They have also been vocal about their support for Michael Jackson, stating through their lawyer that they had no intention of harming the man's legacy.
The head of the crown prosecution service took a different tack, suggesting that the men broke into a restricted installation and “took something” that was not theirs to take. Of course there is an ongoing argument between the authorities and file sharers as to what downloading constitutes. One camp would have it that it is merely a copying and therefore nothing is taken, while the other would suggest it is akin to theft.
Despite opposition though, the two men have received six month suspended sentences and 100 hours community service.
James Marks tweeted over the weekend about the ruling, saying (via The Guardian): “I'm grateful to the judge for being lenient and apologise to Sony … I wish to move on and rebuild my life.”
KitGuru Says: Do you guys think this is a fair sentence and do you think they were really in their to back check Jackson releases?