A hacker who stole unreleased songs from Ed Sheeran and rapper Lil Uzi Vert and offered them for sale online has been jailed for 18 months.
Adrian Kwiatkowski stole two songs from Sheeran and 12 songs from American rapper Vert and tried to exchange them for cryptocurrency, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
The 23-year-old from Ipswich made £131,000, according to police.
Kwiatkowski’s laptop was searched and 565 audio files from dozens of artists were found, including Vert and Sheeran’s songs, the CPS said.
He admitted receiving Bitcoin cryptocurrency for the songs and was jailed at Ipswich Crown Court on Friday.
Joanne Jakymec of the CPS said Kwiatkowski had “complete disregard for the musicians’ creativity” and “selfishly stole their music to make money for himself by selling it on the dark web”.
Kwiatkowski admitted three charges of unauthorised access to computer material, 14 charges of making for sale an article infringing copyright, one charge of converting criminal property and two charges of possession of criminal property.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office launched an investigation in 2019 after management companies of several musicians reported that someone known online as Spirdark had gained access to accounts and was selling the content.
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.
In September 2019 Kwiatkowski was arrested by officers from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), part of City of London Police.
They seized seven devices, including a hard drive that contained 1,263 unreleased songs by 89 artists.
A document saved on the drive summarised the method he had used to obtain them, and Bitcoin, then worth £64,000, was also seized.
Kwiatkowski admitted to police that he had hacked the musicians and sold their songs online and confirmed he used the alias Spirdark.
Detective Constable Daryl Fryatt, from the PIPCU, said: “Not only did he cause several artists and their production companies significant financial harm, he deprived them of the ability to release their own work.”
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