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Michael Jackson Song Hackers Released on Bail, Stand Trial Next January

Michael Jackson
MJ Kim, Getty Images

Well, that didn’t take long: Just days after it was announced that Sony Music’s vaults were digitally penetrated by hackers who sneaked away with Michael Jackson‘s entire back catalog, it’s being reported that a pair of UK men were arrested in connection with the crime.

The two men, James Marks and James McCormick, are said to be fans of the late King of Pop’s work, which presumably led them to use their computer savvy to tunnel into Sony’s servers and steal an estimated 50,000 files. Among the duo’s ill-gotten booty were reportedly a number of unreleased recordings stretching as far back as Jackson’s sessions for ‘Off the Wall’ and ‘Thriller,’ including his work with Freddie Mercury of Queen and will.i.am.

The break-in occurred last April, and the arrests followed a month later, with Marks and McCormick pleading not guilty to the charges when they appeared before a judge last September. They’re currently free on bail while awaiting their trial, scheduled for January 2013.

Sony certainly had a vested interest in bringing the culprits to justice, having paid a reported $250 million for the rights to Jackson’s unreleased material following the singer’s untimely death in 2009. “Everything Sony purchased from the Michael Jackson estate was compromised,” a source told the UK’s Sunday Times. With the combined might of its legal army, the label “immediately took steps to secure the site and notify authorities. As a result, the two suspects were arrested.”

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