An 18-year-old computer hacker who stole songs from artists including Lady Gaga has been sentenced to 18 months detention in Germany.
The court heard how the teenager, who called himself DJ Stolen, earned more than 15,000 euros (£13,260) by breaking copyright laws and hacking personal information from a number of singers.
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The hacker used phishing emails and Trojan horse software to steal unpublished songs and then offer them for sale on the internet.
Anti-piracy teams in the UK and Germany noticed a growing number of pre-release tracks being leaked much earlier than normal.
Tracks were stolen from Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Leona Lewis, Kesha and Mariah Carey in 2009 and 2010.
The teenager, referred to in court as ‘Deniz A’ because of his age, was also found guilty of downloading explicit private photos from Kesha’s computer.
Apology to Gaga
The court in the German city of Duisburg also heard how a letter of apology was published in Daily Bild, a German tabloid newspaper, from the teenager saying:
“Dear Lady Gaga, I am ashamed of what I have done. I did not think about the consequences.”
The judge ruled that the teen was “driven more by a desire for recognition than by criminal intent”.
The 18-year-old was also ordered to have therapy for an addiction to the internet.
Another hacker, 23, whose name wasn’t released, was also given an 18 months suspended sentence.
Jeremy Banks, from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which helped with the investigation said the sentences acted as a “deterrent” to others.
He said the crimes caused “huge damage to artists and record companies”.