A computer hacker who stole two unreleased songs from Ed Sheeran and 12 from an American rapper and offered the tracks for sale on the dark web has been jailed for 18 months.
Adrian Kwiatkowski, of Hampton Road in Ipswich, offered the songs by Sheeran and by US musician Lil Uzi Vert in exchange for cryptocurrency after hacking the performer's digital accounts, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
The 23-year-old defendant's Apple Mac laptop was searched, uncovering 565 audio files which including the songs by Vert and Sheeran, the CPS said.
He made 131,000 pounds, City of London police said.
Kwiatkowski admitted to multiple charges, including three counts related to the hacking and 14 charges relating to putting the songs up for sale, the CPS said.
He also admitted receiving bitcoin cryptocurrency for the songs, and he was jailed for 18 months at Ipswich Crown Court on Friday, the CPS said.
Joanne Jakymec of the CPS said: "Kwiatkowski had complete disregard for the musicians' creativity and hard work producing original songs and the subsequent loss of earnings.
"He selfishly stole their music to make money for himself by selling it on the dark web.
"We will be pursuing ill-gotten gains from these proceeds of crime."
City of London Police said The Manhattan District Attorney's Office launched an investigation in 2019 after the management companies of several musicians reported that an individual, known online as Spirdark, had gained access to a series of accounts and was selling the content that had been saved in them.
The investigation linked the email address used to set up Spirdark's cryptocurrency account to Kwiatkowski and identified the IP address of the device used to hack one of the accounts as his home address, City of London Police said.
Officers seized seven devices including a hard drive that contained 1,263 unreleased songs by 89 artists, in September 2019.
A document saved on the hard drive summarised the method he had used to obtain them, and Bitcoin - then worth 64,000 pounds - was also seized, City of London Police said.
During his police interview, Kwiatkowski admitted he had hacked the musicians and sold their songs online, the force said.
Australian Associated Press