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A $253 Million Heist: Two Charged With Stealing Entire Michael Jackson Catalog

Two British men have been arrested and charged with stealing Michael Jackson's entire music catalog. Wired estimates the collection is worth around $253 million. That's what Sony Music paid for the catalog following the King of Pop's death.

The two men allegedly hacked into Sony's internal music sharing system and stole the catalog, which also included a wealth of previously unreleased material.

The AP reports:

"Britain's Serious Organized Crime Agency said two suspects were arrested in May and charged in September with computer misuse and copyright offenses.

"James Marks, 26, and James McCormick, 25, appeared at Leicester Crown Court in central England on Friday and pleaded not guilty. They were freed on bail and are due to stand trial in January.

"The case is not believed to be linked to Anonymous or Lulz Security — loose-knit hackers' collectives, broadly sympathetic to the WikiLeaks' secret-spilling site — who have targeted government and corporate websites around the world."

Last year, hackers stole the personal information of millions of users from Sony's Playstation network.

The BBC reports the two men, James Marks, 26, and James McCormick, 25, deny the charges.

Quoting The Sunday Times, Billboard magazine reportsthat the hacking took place not long after the Sony Playstation hack. There's no word if any of the files were released online.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.