Entertainment

Hackers convicted for stealing Gaga, Clarkson songs

A German court has convicted a pair of young hackers for stealing songs and personal photos from pop stars such as Lady Gaga and Kelly Clarkson.
Lady Gaga was one of the high-profile recording artists targeted by the young German hackers. (Nick Ansell/PA/Associated Press )

A German court has convicted a pair of young hackers for stealing songs and personal photos from pop stars such as Lady Gaga and Kelly Clarkson.

A local court in the western German city of Duisburg found the two defendants guilty on dozens of counts, including violating copyrights and obtaining confidential data through hacking.

The names of the two men, aged 18 and 23, were not released.

The younger defendant was previously identified as Deniz A. in a 2010 newspaper interview in which he apologized for his crime. He was sentenced to 18 months in a juvenile offenders facility, six months of community service and was also ordered to undergo therapy for his hacking addiction.

Judge Volker Schmidt-Hoelsken also warned the teen that he would face jail time if he hacked into any computers in the next six months.

The 23-year-old received an 18-month suspended sentence.

The pair confessed to planting Trojan horse malware on the computers of record company officials and managers of high-profile recording artists, via email, in order to gain access to unreleased tracks, personal information and private photos.

They then sold the stolen material online and  prosecutors estimate they earned more than €15,000 (nearly $21,000 Cdn) from the scheme.

In addition to Lady Gaga and Clarkson, other artists targeted include Mariah Carey, Kesha, Justin Timberlake and Leona Lewis. Fans of some of these artists  were first to alert authorities to the scheme.

"The court considered the fact that both defendants are attested to be highly addicted to the internet to be a mitigating factor," a spokesman told Agence France-Presse.